New Research Confirms Link Between Seasonal Allergies and Higher Rates of Dry Eye Syndrome

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Carlsbad Eye Care ophthalmologist Dr. Michael Tracy comments on the findings of a new study out of the University of Miami linking higher pollen counts and environmental allergens to more cases of dry eye syndrome.

Dr. Michael Tracy

With dry eye syndrome becoming a real issue for more and more Americans every year, knowing what to watch for in terms of seasonal allergens can help to design more effective prevention and treatment options in the future.

New research out of the University of Miami, published in the April 2015 issue of the American Academy of Ophthalmology journal Ophthalmology, has found evidence to suggest that springtime allergies can lead to the ocular condition known as dry eye syndrome.

Dry eye syndrome is a growing problem, affecting as many as 1 in every 5 women, and 1 in 10 men. It is estimated that Americans spend an average of $4 billion each year on healthcare costs associated with managing the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.

“Dry eyes are becoming a very common problem, and we’re seeing more and more patients suffering from the condition each year,” said Dr. Michael Tracy, an experienced ophthalmologist and LASIK eye surgeon in Carlsbad, CA.

The most common symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:

Redness
Itching
Pain, burning, and stinging
Discharge
“Foreign body” sensation (the feeling that there’s something in the eye)
Blurred vision

For the University of Miami study, researchers evaluated data from over 3 million visits to Veterans Affairs clinics around the country from the five year period between 2006 - 2011. The study, lead by Anat Galor, M.D., MSPH, associate professor of clinical ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami, found that 607,000 patients were diagnosed with dry eye syndrome in the five year period. Of those diagnosed with dry eye syndrome, 18.5% occurred in spring, with the most cases, 20.9 percent, occurring in April. April is also the peak month for pollen and other allergens, according to an allergy index recorder from the website pollen.com.

“The results of this study are very helpful for ophthalmologists and patients alike,” added Dr. Tracy. “With dry eye syndrome becoming a real issue for more and more Americans every year, knowing what to watch for in terms of seasonal allergens can help to design more effective prevention and treatment options in the future.”

Dr. Michael Tracy is a board-certified ophthalmologist in Carlsbad, CA. He completed his residency training in ophthalmology at the Scheie Eye Institute at the University of Pennsylvania and his fellowship in Corneal and Refractive Surgery at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. Dr. Tracy specializes in LASIK and PRK surgery at his private practice at Carlsbad Eye Care.
To contact Carlsbad Eye Care, please visit http://carlsbad-eye-care.com or call (760) 603-9910.

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