Tackling Allergic Conjunctivitis with Dr. Rachael Wruble

This podcast is made possible by the support of Allergan, an AbbVie company. Dr. Wruble is a consultant for Allergan.

It’s that time of year in North Carolina for Dr. Jennifer Lyerly who practices at TrueVision Eye Care in Raleigh, and Dr. Rachael Wruble, who practices at Belmont Eye outside of Charlotte.  A dusting of yellow pollen coats everything outside, and patients that come into their eye exams without a complaint of season irritation are few and far between. But for many patients, allergies are year-round. An estimated 40% of Americans ages three and older experience itchy allergy eyes. Among the most common causes of allergies around the country are pollen, pet dander, grass, and ragweed. 

Dr. Wruble shares that as many as 90% of her patients currently are having complaints of redness, watering, and itching. In the Southeast, spring and fall tend to be peak times of year for allergic conjunctivitis. Still, for many patients, chronic irritation plagues them year-round, including itching, foreign body sensation, and constant eye rubbing. Dr. Wruble specializes in dry eye care in her practice, and she discusses how allergic conjunctivitis and dry eye syndrome are often seen in unison with each other. For diagnosing allergic conjunctivitis, she specifically looks for palpebral conjunctival papillary reaction and injection. She uses anterior segment imaging in her practice to educate patients about her findings and how they relate to her patient’s symptoms of chronic irritation due to allergies. 

Many patients self-treat their itchy, allergy eyes with red-eye relief drops or oral antihistamines.  The side effects of these treatments include ocular surface dryness and irritation, which can compound ocular irritation and watering. “I find it to be horrifically common that our patients with chronic eye irritation are taking year-round oral anti-histamines,” Dr. Lyerly shares. Finding an effective treatment that minimizes side effects is essential to long-term ocular comfort. Dr. Wruble talks to every patient about the importance of increasing hydration and minimizing environmental sources of allergens, like adding air filters in the home and avoiding open vents or windows in the car. For acute swelling symptoms, she also encourages cool compresses and making sure they clean their face and eyelids daily with ocular surface friendly cleansers to remove allergens from the lash margin and skin. She educates her patients that oral anti-histamines are not specifically targeting their ocular symptoms. They are drying the surface of their eyes, so reaching for an antihistamine eye drop when their eyes itch from allergies is a better solution. 

In the past, Dr. Lyerly and Dr. Wruble prescribed LASTACAFT® for their patients with allergic conjunctivitis, but now the same prescription strength drops are available over the counter. LASTACAFT® is the only antihistamine eye drop with Alcaftadine 0.25% – an H1 histamine receptor antagonist and inhibitor of histamine release from mast cells.

Some features of LASTACAFT® include:

  • Fast-acting: effective eye itch relief at 3 minutes
  • Long-lasting: one drop provides all day eye itch relief for up to 16 hours
  • Safe: Approved for ages 2 and above
  • Works against seasonal and year-round allergens: pollen, pet dander, grass, and ragweed
  • Dual-action method of action: blocks histamine release at H-1 receptors and prevents the further release of histamine
  • Great value: the bottle size at 5 mL is a 60-day supply, which is twice the amount per bottle than leading competitor PATADAY Once Daily Relief 30-day supply

In the past, doctors would need to prescribe LASTACAFT® for their patients to experience relief from itchy allergy eyes.  Now, being available over the counter increases patient’s access to this safe and effective drop. Dr. Lyerly talks about the nightmare of insurance prior authorizations in the past where the drops she had wanted to prescribe for her patients for fast-acting relief were often denied by insurances in favor of older, less effective generic alternatives. The result was frustration for her patients as their symptoms persisted. They had to struggle through multiple ineffective options to get insurance to approve a drop that would finally work for them. As an over-the-counter drop, LASTACAFT® additionally has the benefit of being readily available for patients to treat their symptoms when they know that specific activity or time of year causes them allergic ocular itching. Dr. Lyerly shares that many of her patients at their annual eye exam will mention that their eyes only bother them for “a few weeks in the spring.” She educates them to start using LASTACAFT® in early March before their symptoms explode, and then to call her if they are still experiencing any breakthrough itching or irritation as the spring progresses. 

You can learn more about LASTACAFT® at www.lastacaft.com 

© 2022 AbbVie. All rights reserved. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
US-LAS-220098 05/22

Drs. Glover & Lyerlyhttps://www.defocusmedia.com
Defocus Media is run by two successful Millennial optometrists and social media entrepreneurs, Dr. Jennifer Lyerly and Dr. Darryl Glover. They have proven track records of successfully engaging online readers and followers. They reside and practice in North Carolina.

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