Management of allergic conjunctivitis and dry eye

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Ocular allergy is a common eye condition encountered in clinical practice. However, little is known how seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC), the most common subtype, is managed in clinical practice. Further, dry eye, another common eye condition, may be misdiagnosed as SAC and vice-versa as they share similar signs and symptoms. In addition, despite the frequent recommendation of non-pharmacological treatments for SAC, evidenceto support their use has not been identified in the scientific literature. The aim of this thesis was therefore to determine the actual diagnosis and management of SAC and dry eye in clinical practice and investigate the efficacy of non-pharmacological treatments for these conditions.
The diagnostic and management strategies for SAC and dry eye employed by pharmacy staff are found to be inconsistent with current guidelines and scientific evidence based upon a mystery shopper design. Cluster analysis of tear film metrics in normal and dry eye patients identified several clinically relevant groups of patients that may allow for targeted treatment recommendations. Using a novel environmental chamber model of SAC, the use of artificial tears and cold compresses, either alone or combined is an effective treatment modality for acute and symptomatic SAC, on a par with topical anti-allergic medication, and has been demonstrated for the first time. In addition, eyelid warming therapy with a simple, readily available, seed filled device is an effective method of treating meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) related evaporative dry eye, perhaps the most common dry eye subtype.
A greater focus on ophthalmology must be implemented as part of the formal education and training of pharmacy staff, while greater professional communication between community pharmacists, optometrists and the population they serve is required. Artificial tears and cold compresses may be considered as front line agents for acute SAC by pharmacy staff and optometrists, to whom pharmacological treatment options are limited.
Date of Award7 Apr 2014
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorShehzad Naroo (Supervisor) & James Wolffsohn (Supervisor)


  • meibomian gland dysfunction
  • eyelid warming therapy
  • cluster analysis
  • tear film
  • ocular allergy model

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