Periorbital botulinum toxin A improves photophobia and sensations of dryness in patients without migraine: Case series of four patients

Nandini Venkateswaran, Jodi Hwang, Andrew J. Rong, Alexandra E. Levitt, Ryan J. Diel, Roy C. Levitt, Konstantinos D. Sarantopoulos, Wendy W. Lee, Anat Galor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Individuals receiving botulinum toxin A (BoNT-A) injections in the head and neck for migraine treatment have reported decreases in photophobia and sensations of dryness, independent of ocular surface parameters. We hypothesized that patients without migraine but with similar ocular neuropathic-like symptoms would also experience symptomatic improvement with periocular BoNT-A injections, independent of ocular surface changes. Observations: We identified four individuals without a history of migraine but with neuropathic ocular pain (symptoms of dryness, burning, and photophobia that were out of proportion to ocular surface findings and unresponsive to ongoing dry eye (DE) therapies). Individuals underwent 1 session of periocular BoNT-A injections. Validated questionnaires (Visual Light Sensitivity Questionnaire-8, Dry Eye Questionnaire-5) assessed photophobia and DE symptoms pre- and 1-month post-injections. All four reported improvements in frequency and severity of photophobia and eye discomfort following BoNT-A injections. Tear film parameters (phenol red thread test, tear break-up time, corneal staining, and Schirmer test) and eyelid (palpebral fissure height and levator palpebrae superioris function) and eyebrow (position) anatomy were also evaluated before and after injections. Despite a unanimous improvement in symptoms, there were no consistent changes in ocular surface parameters with BoNT-A injections across individuals. Conclusions: Periocular BoNT-A shows promise in reducing photophobia and sensations of dryness in individuals with neuropathic-like DE symptoms without a history of migraine, independent of tear film, eyelid, or eyebrow parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100809
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Botulinum toxin A
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Neuropathic ocular pain
  • Neuropathic-like dry eye syndrome
  • Photophobia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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