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Epidemiology of allergic conjunctivitis

Rosario, Nelson; Bielory, Leonard

Current Opinion in Allergy & Clinical Immunology: October 2011 - Volume 11 - Issue 5 - p 471–476
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e32834a9676
Eye allergy: Edited by Leonard Bielory and Stefano Bonini

Purpose of review: To describe currently available epidemiological data on the prevalence of allergic conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis is often underdiagnosed and consequently undertreated except when it is severe and the chief complaint of a consultation in a specialty clinic. Use of healthcare resources and reduced quality of life of affected individuals justify studies on the prevalence of allergic conjunctivitis.

Recent findings: The association of allergic nasal and ocular symptoms (rhinoconjunctivitis) is common. Most children with allergic conjunctivitis have allergic rhinitis. Older population studies estimate a prevalence of 15–20% of allergic conjunctivitis, but more recent studies implicate rates as high as 40%. Ocular symptoms are common and contribute to the burden of allergic rhinitis and lower quality of life. Ocular allergies rank a very close second and at times may overcome the primary complaints of nasal congestion in rhinoconjunctivitis patients.

Summary: Little focus has been set on the impact of allergic conjunctivitis as comorbidity to asthma and rhinitis in atopic patients. Conjunctivitis symptoms are at least as severe as rhinitis symptoms in patients with ‘hay fever’ and some have even generated the term of conjunctivorhinitis stressing the ocular symptoms. Prevalence studies should be specifically addressed to ocular allergy symptoms.

aPediatric Allergy and Immunology Division, Hospital de Clinicas, Federal University of Parana, Curitiba, Brazil

bCenter of Environmental Prediction, Rutgers University, New Brunswick

cDivision of Medicine, Pediatrics and Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, STARx Allergy & Asthma Center, Rutgers University, Springfield, New Jersey, USA

Correspondence to Nelson Rosario, MD, Rua General Carneiro 181, 80060-900 Curitiba, BrazilTel: +55 41 3360 7938; fax: +55 41 3339 7043; e-mail: nelson.rosario@ufpr.br

Copyright © 2011 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.