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Is visual function affected in severe ocular allergies?

Leonardi, Andrea; Bonini, Stefano

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: October 2013 - Volume 13 - Issue 5 - p 558–562
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e328364ec7a
EYE ALLERGY: Edited by Leonard Bielory and Stefano Bonini

Purpose of review The purpose of the present review is to provide an overview on the clinical features and long-term complications of severe ocular allergies, with a special focus on the corneal involvement observed in these diseases, which may impair vision permanently. Furthermore, different treatment options are discussed based on the sight-threatening effects of corticosteroid use.

Recent findings Recent data on the demographics, clinical and immunologic features of vernal and atopic keratoconjunctivitis are presented and discussed, and the evidence of a lack of literature addressing the issue of visual outcome in allergic diseases is underlined. The efficacy and possible long-term complications of their treatments are described, including visual impairment.

Summary Diagnosis and treatment of patients with severe ocular allergy is a challenge for ophthalmologists due to the long-term corneal complications and the potential side-effects of topical corticosteroids that may induce cataract formation and glaucoma, and impair vision permanently. The review describes old and new concepts of management and possible complications such as severe, vision-threatening forms of allergic ocular disease. An update on their management and long-term complications may help clinicians to establish a common agreement on treatment options and researchers to design future studies based on similar outcomes, including visual acuity.

aOphthalmology Unit, Department of Neuroscience, University of Padua, Padua

bDepartment of Ophthalmology, University of Rome Campus Bio-Medico, Rome, Italy

Correspondence to Andrea Leonardi, MD, Department of Neuroscience, Ophthalmology Unit, Via Giustiniani 2, 35128 Padova, Italy. Fax: +39 049 8755168; e-mail:

Copyright © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.