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 language||English (US)|
|Journal||Transactions of the American Ophthalmological Society|
|State||Published - Aug 2017|
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