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Classification of Ocular Allergy

Authors: Marcus G Hodges, MD ; Andrea M Keane-Myers, PhDFaculty and Disclosures


Abstract and Introduction


Purpose of review: The purpose of this article is to summarize the clinical presentations associated with the classification of ocular allergy. This article also serves to summarize recent findings of pathophysiological mechanisms associated with ocular allergy and to highlight recently improved diagnostic methods for ocular allergic inflammation.
Recent findings: The term allergic conjunctivitis may not sufficiently describe all forms of allergic eye disease, thus a new classification system is desirable, preferably derived from the varied pathophysiological mechanisms operating in the different forms of ocular allergy. Recent published material has further characterized the roles that inflammatory and structural cells have in ocular allergic inflammation. Improved diagnostic methods have also been developed to assess the underlying causes of ocular allergy.
Summary: The underlying immune responses of ocular allergies are complex, indicating the critical need to understand the pathophysiology behind these diseases. Extensive research over the past several years has provided valuable insight into understanding the pathophysiology associated with the different forms of allergic conjunctivitis. Further clarification of the mechanisms associated with different forms of ocular allergy is essential for improved methods of classification, diagnosis, and treatment.


The occurrence of ocular allergy has increased in developed countries, and now affects over 20% of the US population.[1,2] The purpose of this review is to summarize the clinical presentations and pathophysiology associated with ocular allergies, to highlight select recent studies that have further characterized the inflammatory components associated with ocular disorders, and to provide a synopsis on select relatively new diagnostic methods for ocular allergic diseases.

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