The use of environmental exposure chambers in studies related to ocular surface effects

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Purpose of reviewThe potential of allergen challenges using environmental exposure facilities in allergic conjunctivitis drug development and more recently its implication on the diagnosis of the united airways concept have been emphasized in the recent literature. This study aims to present an overview of new and important data in this field.Recent findingsStandardized methodologies for ocular surface assessment during allergen challenges were described. The Total Ocular Symptom Score (TOSS) is the main validated questionnaire used for the assessment of ocular surface during allergen challenges. It combines patient and investigator assessments for more accurate conjunctival response and was extensively used in clinical research and daily practice. Environmental Exposure Chambers (EECs) studies aim to conduct tight-controlled challenges to a stable and well defined allergen airborne concentration, closer to natural exposure to evaluate the efficacy of nonpharmaceutical and antiallergic treatments. Recent studies showed a good correlation between ocular symptoms elicited by EEC and those assessed during natural exposure. These validated methods allow to investigate the efficacy of novel pharmacotherapies for allergic conjunctivitis and allergen immunotherapy (AIT) in a real-world model of allergen exposure.SummaryThis study aims to summarize novel data regarding the impact of EECs in studying pathophysiology and drug efficacy in the context of existing clinical protocols related to ocular surface effects. In this regard, studies comparing conjunctival response during natural and EEC exposures in patients with pollen-induced conjunctivitis aimed to demonstrate better outcomes in tight-controlled exposures mimicking natural exposure. Because allergen challenges are widely implemented in allergy treatment, this article will focus on the most important outcomes and the evolution of treatments for allergic conjunctivitis.

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Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology

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