Our eye care practice is pleased to offer a new allergy testing service to help our El Paso, Texas patients. These skin scratch tests, also called a skin prick test, can check for 80 different sensitivities. It’s an effective way to confirm whether or not a specific substance you eat, inhale, or touch leads to symptoms.
What are some reasons to do allergy testing?
The results of your skin scratch tests may help our El Paso, Texas eye doctor Dr. Holt to know which allergens affect you. This information is helpful for diagnosing and treating eye allergies, and for providing guidance about allergen avoidance.
Allergy scratch tests are most accurate for diagnosing allergies to airborne substances, such as dust, pet dander, and pollen. However, they are also sometimes used to detect bothersome conditions such as:
- Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
- Food allergies
- Allergic asthma
- Latex allergy
- Dermatitis (eczema)
- Penicillin allergy
- Bee venom allergy
Is allergy testing safe?
In general, skin tests are safe for adults and kids. However, our El Paso, Texas eye doctor Dr. Holt may not recommend taking this test if you’ve ever had a serious allergic reaction to a substance, take medicine that could skew the results, or have certain skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.
Are there any risks to allergy testing?
The most typical side effect of skin scratch tests is red, itchy bumps. These swollen patches may not appear for a few hours after the test, and they can last up to a few days.
What happens during allergy testing?
To begin, our El Paso, Texas eye doctor Dr. Holt will question you about your medical history, symptoms, and treatments. Your answers can indicate whether an allergic condition may be the cause of your symptoms.
The actual test takes about 20 to 40 minutes and uses lancets that barely scratch your skin’s surface. In adults, the testing is usually done on the forearm, and children are generally tested on their upper back. Only mild discomfort is felt, with no bleeding. The lancets are used to prick allergen extracts into your skin’s surface, and a new lancet is used for each allergen. We will watch for an immediate allergic reaction to each respective extract. If you are allergic, a response – a red, itchy bump similar to a mosquito bite – should appear within 15 minutes after the skin pricks.
When are the results of allergy testing ready?
You will know the results of our skin scratch tests before you leave Eyeland Vision. If your test is positive, it means you may be allergic to a specific substance. Larger red bumps usually mean that you have a higher level of sensitivity. If your test is negative, means you probably do not have allergies to any particular allergens.
As useful as these results are, our El Paso, Texas eye doctor Dr. Holt cautions that skin tests are not 100% accurate. Both false positives and false negatives can occur.
How can I find out if my eye irritation is caused by allergies?
If you have red, swollen, itchy, or painful eyes, you may be suffering from allergies to common airborne agents, such as tree or grass pollen, dust, or pet dander. Eye allergies can also be caused by a sensitivity to chemical sprays, such as hairspray and air fresheners. To help you pinpoint what’s causing your annoying eye symptoms, allergy testing may offer a solution.
In addition to diagnosing your allergies, our eye doctor can guide you about medication and nutrition so you experience relief! One available option is to take sublingual therapy drops, which facilitate developing an immunity to the allergen within 1-1 ½ years. Contact Dr. Holt in El Paso, Texas, to book an eye exam and consultation.
To prepare for the allergy testing appointment:
Stop taking all allergy medicines including nasal sprays and allergy eye drops 10 days before your allergy testing day. On the day of your allergy testing appointment, wear a shirt with loose-fitting sleeves or short sleeves.
The allergy testing will be covered by MOST medical insurance plans, subject to your deductible and copays. For those without medical insurance, the allergy testing fee is $250. If needed, the sublingual medication to help desensitize your specific allergies is $57 per month for a 6 month period, totaling $339.70.