Dry eye has gained recognition as a public health problem given its prevalence, morbidity, and cost implications. Dry eye can have a variety of symptoms including blurred vision, irritation, and ocular pain. Within dry eyeassociated ocular pain, some patients report transient pain whereas others complain of chronic pain. In this review, we will summarize the evidence that chronicity is more likely to occur in patients with dysfunction in their ocular sensory apparatus (ie, neuropathic ocular pain). Clinical evidence of dysfunction includes the presence of spontaneous dysesthesias, allodynia, hyperalgesia, and corneal nerve morphologic and functional abnormalities. Both peripheral and central sensitizations likely play a role in generating the noted clinical characteristics. We will further discuss how evaluating for neuropathic ocular pain may affect the treatment of dry eye-associated chronic pain.
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