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Papers: 8 Jan 2022 - 14 Jan 2022

2021 Dec 25

J Clin Med



New Perspectives in the Pathophysiology and Treatment of Pain in Patients with Dry Eye Disease.


Giannaccare G, Ghelardini C, Mancini A, Scorcia V, Di Cesare Mannelli L
J Clin Med. 2021 Dec 25; 11(1).
PMID: 35011849.


Ocular discomfort and eye pain are frequently reported by patients with dry eye disease (DED), and their management remains a real therapeutic challenge for the Ophthalmologist. In DED patients, injury at the level of each structure of the ocular surface can determine variable symptoms, ranging from mild ocular discomfort up to an intolerable pain evoked by innocuous stimuli. In refractory cases, the persistence of this harmful signal is able to evoke a mechanism of maladaptive plasticity of the nervous system that leads to increased pain responsiveness. Peripheral and, subsequently, central sensitization cause nociceptor hyperexcitability and persistent pain perception that can culminate in the paradoxical situation of perceiving eye pain even in the absence of ocular surface abnormalities. Effective therapeutic strategies of these cases are challenging, and new options are desirable. Recently, a theoretical novel therapeutic approach concerns enkephalins thanks to the evidence that eye pain sensations are modulated by endogenous opioid peptides (enkephalins, endorphins and dynorphins). In this regard, new topical agents open up a new theoretical scenario in the treatment of ocular discomfort and eye pain in the setting of DED, such as, for example, a multimolecular complex based on proteins and glycosaminoglycans also containing opiorphin that may assist the physiological pain-relieving mechanism of the eye.