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Allergen-specific immunoglobulin E antibodies in tears and serum of vernal conjunctivitis patients.


Tears and sera of 53 patients of vernal conjunctivitis were examined for antibodies of the IgE type to a panel of 18 allergens. In 18 of the patients (34.0%) allergen-specific IgE was demonstrated in both tears and serum, in 3 (5.7%) in tears only, and in 4 (7.5%) in serum only. The antigen-specific reactions with tear fluid were found in patients with the highest total IgE levels, not only in tears but also in serum. This is evidence for a specific, local allergic reaction in these patients. Most positive reactions were to perennial allergens, particularly house dust mites, cat epithelium and Bermuda grass. This fact is in harmony with the lack of season-linked symptoms in most patients in this geographical area.

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