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Allergy Shots and flare-ups

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  • Allergy Shots and flare-ups

    Hi fellow sufferers,

    I'm a 38 year old female, diagnosed 9/2011 (I introduced myself awhile back if you want to know more). I have a STT of 3 OU, upper and lower plugs, on restatsis and a few other things. No bloodwork has revealed any autoimmune disease and the rest of me feels fine, so based on some input from some others I know with dry eye, I went for allergy testing and hyposensitization. I have a friend who had pretty severe dry eye and after undergoing allergy hyposensitization he hasn't had to use artifical tears in over a year! He and another sufferer I know said it made a huge difference.

    In any case- after making what I considered slow but potential progress over the past few months, I noted several days of severe setbacks (eyes dry as a bone, uncomfortable etc). When I started looking at my calendar I noticed that these days were always the first 24-48 hours, post-allergy injection, then my eyes would go back to normal (or their relative normal). I asked my friend who went through hyposensitization if he went through the same thing, and he said yes- but it eventually went away. He still gets scratchy eyes the day after he gets his monthly maintenance shot. The allergist added Cromolin drops (mast cell stabilizer) to my routine, but since that drop has BAC as a preservative my eyes hate it.

    I'm curious if anyone else has experienced this phenomenon. I'm both encouraged and discouraged by this. I feel like I may be "onto something" given the very predictable and specific response of my eyes to the shots, but it's pretty brutal at the moment. . . it feels like I'm going through eye chemo.

    Just thought I'd look for feedback and pass along my experience for anyone else thinking of doing this.
    -MLE (currently ensconced in goggles 24 hours post-allergy shot)

  • #2
    I got an allergy work up recently:

    a) airborne allergy skin prick test
    b) intradermal airborne allergy testing

    with (a) nothing significant happened and then when I underwent (b) after a week my both eyes went BONE DRY....I was found to be sensitive to quite a few of the antigens...right eye was worse than left. At that time I was not sure if any of the puctums got open (plug fell out) as my all punctums were supposed to be may be so that tear production also went downhill at the same from allergy testing.

    Then after a week my eye doctor checked me and found out that on the right eye plug fell out and inserted it. By that time I think the effect of the antigens from the testing also diminished and I felt betterment with my symptoms.

    Now my Allergist does not believe that these allergy shots can improve my eye symptoms as I do not have any itchy or watery eyes. I had lot of Sinus issues in the past but after surgery that is doing better; so, no other cold symptoms either. So, according to her I do not display any usual treatable allergy symptoms as she never heard that it can help dry eyes.

    But I insisted on getting allergy shots as Dr.L suggested me this. After couple of objections, she ordered the serums and we should review the situation in 6 waiting on that. But she did warn me that my eye symptoms can get worse from getting these shots.

    Hope you will make it thru this...hang in never know it may finally give the badly needed relief.

    Can you please PM the allergist info who successfully treated your friend. Thanks


    • #3

      As requested, I sent you a PM.


      • #4
        If you guys have any skin issues at all, you may want to get one more set of tests: allergy patch tests. If your allergist doesn't do them, a dermatologist could. All my allergy tests since childhood were negative but patch tests last year were positive and eliminating the allergans from my body and environment helped my eyes tremendously. There are no needles involved, just patches placed on your back with the substances on them. But you do have to go back to have results read by the doctor twice and the entire process takes about 5 days. So you may have to see the doc on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday within one week.

        Just a thought. I'm glad I did it.



        • #5
          Thanks Mary! I don't have any skin issues, but it sounds like you are a good example of someone helped by hyposensitization. I'm just going to have to man up and tolerate those two evil days post-injection.


          • #6
            Why would a skin patch test be more sensitive than the regular skin test? I had the test done on my forearms with 20 items. All negative. Perhaps I should get the skin patch test...


            • #7

              Actually I haven't had hyposensitization for my "skin allergies" that affect my eyes. I didn't know it was even possible until reading your post and looking up the word online. My dermatologist and allergist didn't mention it. They just told me to avoid all formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing agents in skin and hair care products, topical meds, clothing and other fabrics, etc. But I'm finding it's impossible to avoid it in clothing because in the US clothing isn't labeled as containing that as it is in some countries and this country allows quite large amounts of it in clothing.

              So, thanks to you I'm going to try to find a doctor who can do hyposensitization for me, if possible. Eliminating the F in skin and hair care products probably brought my eye pain and sores from an 8 or 9 (scale 1-10) down to about a 2-3 most of the time. But my skin, where clothing touches, is always itchy and I'm really tired of it. And I wonder if the remaining eye problems have anything to do with the F in my sheets.

              Thanks for sharing your story.


              • #8

                It isn't that the skin patch tests are more sensitive than the other tests. It's that it's for a completely different disorder. The tests on your forearms or any allergy tests with needles are for Type I allergies. The patch tests are for Type IV allergies (aka delayed skin hypersensitivities). The reactions don't occur until a day or two later and last for several days. So if you are exposed daily (like from facial cleanser) you'll be constantly reacting and may not be able to tell what you are reacting to unless you're tested.

                It's so different that many allergists don't test for or treat Type IV. They leave that to dermatologists because they mostly affect the skin. In my case my mucus membranes, like inner eyelids, are my most reactive areas to my allergens. I never even knew my itchy skin was allergic since I didn't typicallly get very red or get blisters there. See info below if you'd like more details.


                I hope this is helpful.


                • #9
                  MLE, during the build-up phase - the allergy vials go from low to high concentration - so with the higher concentrations symptoms are expected to get worse.

                  Have done the patch testing too but could not complete it as had an eye flare up and could not make it to the dermatologist office in time on the last visit. Dermatologist said that for skin allergies there is no desensitization available, only avoidance. I was found sensitive to the stuff in Gentamicin & Erythromycin ointment which is regularly prescribed by my eye doctors to heal abrasions/scarring etc.!

                  Last edited by shanku; 13-Jan-2012, 19:13.


                  • #10
                    I just looked up some more medical info online. Apparently desensitization or hyposensitization for dermatitis isn't used on a large scale and is controversial as to whether or not it helps treat the skin allergy problem. When I'd looked on Pub Med it looks like most of the research with it right now is regarding nickel allergy. I have a nickel allergy but that doesn't impact my eyes. So disappointing! I hope that changes and they figure out a way, or else the US quits allowing common chemical allergens in clothing/bedding fabrics.

                    Encouraging news yesterday is that my hair salon said they have more and more clients coming in who have formaldehyde allergy and they carry one product line, Purology, that is formaldehyde-free and sulfate-free. So if L'Oreal's new sulfate-free products don't work or irritate my eyes there's a decent alternative available to me locally. It's taken me almost a year now to find a product like that which actually cleans hair instead of just gunking it up. Although my eyes have been happy with the gunky stuff.


                    • #11
                      maryva61 that article was very interesting. Lately it seems like anything I put on my face like my usual moisturizer and foundation is aggravating my eyes. My eyes are killing me lately so I think they are hypersensitive right now to the products that I usually use. Its like my eyes have gotten in such a freak out state that they are saying don't put anything near me. It feels almost like fumes from these products are going into my eyes. Its so frustrating.