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Global Resources in Allergy (GLORIA): allergic rhinitis and allergic conjunctivitis


P. Van Cauwenberge, Department of Otorhino-laryngology, Ghent University Hospital, De Pintelaan 181, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium. E-mail:


Allergic rhinitis is a common disease, affecting 25–35% of the population. Allergic rhinitis is still increasing in prevalence. It is characterized by rhinorrhoea, itching, sneezing and nasal obstruction. Allergic rhinitis is classically classified into three groups: seasonal (intermittent), perennial (persistent) and occupational allergic rhinitis. In the ARIA document allergic rhinitis is classified into intermittent and persistent. There is a known relationship between allergic rhinitis and asthma, sinusitis, otitis media with effusion, nasal polyposis and upper respiratory tract infections. Allergic rhinitis results from IgE-mediated allergy, associated with cellular inflammation of the nasal mucosa. The diagnosis of allergic rhinitis is confirmed by a clinical history of typical allergic symptoms and in vivo or in vitro tests for detection of free or cell-bound IgE. Treatment of allergic rhinitis comprises avoidance of the allergens, oral/nasal antihistamines, decongestants, chromones, ipratropium bromide and intranasal/oral corticosteroids. It is advised to follow the international guidelines, ‘a stepwise approach’. Allergic conjunctivitis is the most common ocular allergic disorder, affecting 5–22% of the population. Ocular allergy involves typical symptoms (itching, watery, stringy or ropey discharge and redness), recurrent/intermittent/persistent episodes, a strong personal and/or family history of atopy and an early age of onset. Treatment of allergic conjunctivitis includes oral/intraocular antihistamines, cromones or topical corticosteroids.