The Relationship Between Ocular Itch, Ocular Pain, and Dry Eye Symptoms (An American Ophthalmological Society Thesis)

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Abstract

Purpose: To evaluate associations between sensations of ocular itch and dry eye (DE) symptoms, including ocular pain, and DE signs.

Methods: A cross-sectional study of 324 patients seen in the Miami Veterans Affairs eye clinic was performed. The evaluation consisted of questionnaires regarding ocular itch, DE symptoms, descriptors of neuropathic-like ocular pain (NOP), and evoked pain sensitivity testing on the forehead and forearm, followed by a comprehensive ocular surface examination including corneal mechanical sensitivity testing. Analyses were performed to examine for differences between those with and without subjective complaints of ocular itch.

Results: The mean age was 62 years with 92% being male. Symptoms of DE and NOP were more frequent in patients with moderate-severe ocular itch compared to those with no or mild ocular itch symptoms. With the exception of ocular surface inflammation (abnormal matrix metalloproteinase 9 testing) which was less common in those with moderate-severe ocular itch symptoms, DE signs were not related to ocular itch. Individuals with moderate-severe ocular itch also demonstrated greater sensitivity to evoked pain on the forearm and had higher non-ocular pain, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorders scores, compared to those with no or mild itch symptoms.

Conclusions: Subjects with moderate-severe ocular itch symptoms have more severe symptoms of DE, NOP, non-ocular pain and demonstrate abnormal somatosensory testing in the form of increased sensitivity to evoked pain at a site remote from the eye, consistent with generalized hypersensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)T5
JournalTransactions of the American Ophthalmological Society
Volume115
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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