Previous nationwide surveys of allergies in the United States have focused on nasal symptoms, but ocular symptoms are also relevant. This study determines the effects of ocular and nasal allergies on patients' lives. Telephone surveys of randomly selected U.S. households (the patient survey) and health care providers (provider survey) were conducted in the United States in 2012. Study participants were 2765 people ≥5 years of age who had ever been diagnosed with nasal or ocular allergies and 500 health care providers in seven specialties. Respondents to the patient survey reported a bimodal seasonal distribution of allergy symptoms, with peaks in March to May and September. Nasal congestion was the most common of the symptoms rated as "extremely bothersome" (39% of respondents), followed by red, itchy eyes (34%; p = 0.84 for difference in extreme bothersomeness of nasal and ocular symptoms). Twenty-nine percent of respondents reported that their or their child's daily life was impacted "a lot" when allergy symptoms were at their worst. Workers rated their mean productivity at 29% lower when allergy symptoms were at their worst (p < 0.001 compared with no symptoms). Providers reported that itchy eyes was the symptom causing most patients to seek medical treatment by pediatricians (73%), ophthalmologist/optometrists (72%), and nurse practitioners or physician assistants (62%), whereas nasal congestion was the symptom causing most patients to seek treatment from otolaryngologists (85%), allergist/immunologists (79%), and family medicine practitioners (64%). Ocular and nasal allergy symptoms substantially affected patients' lives and were comparable in their impact.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine