Reviews Supplements Allergan Tech CE - Optometry July 2012 : Page 1

PART 1 OF A 3-PART SERIES Optometric Staff Continuing Education for ABO Credit By Milton M. Hom, OD, FAAO and Melissa Quintana, Optometric Technician A ll across America, allergies seem to be on the increase. Season after season, pollen levels are at all-time highs. In fact, the 2010 spring season showed record-breaking levels and 2011 was even higher. Now, 2012 is shaping up to shatter even more records. 1 While our Southern California practice for the most part experiences mild weather year-round, even some of the most traditionally cold climates in the United States have not experienced a true win-ter this year. And of course, with milder tempera-tures, the plant life has been blooming year-round, exacerbating allergy season for many. We typically treat 20% of our patients for ocular allergies, which mirrors national reported averages. 2 In 2012, how-ever, we have already treated more than 50% of our patients for allergy symptoms. More than 50 million Americans already suffer from allergic diseases, and allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic disease in the United States. Because the patient history can offer im-portant clues to making a diagnosis, the role of the Sponsored by optometric staff is an important one— and a well-trained staff is an invaluable asset to the optometrist. The Daily Journey of Pollen What are the causes of ocular allergies? For the current scenario, weather is the number-one factor infl uencing pollen counts. Recently, the allergy seasons are getting longer and longer. They start earlier and end later. The climate changes have prolonged the season and propelled us to unprece-dented pollen levels. Some have referred to this as “climate chaos.” 1 Carbon dioxide is another factor. The more of it is present, the more it fuels plant growth and more pollen is released. Understanding the daily journey of pollen can help our patients avoid the worst times of the day when levels are at their highest. Pollen usually rises with heat and drops with cooler temperatures, which explains why our patients often suffer from allergy symptoms the most during commute hours. Supported by an Independent Educational Grant from Allergan, Inc.

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