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Papers: 15 Jun 2024 - 21 Jun 2024

2024 Jun 17

J Proteome Res


Tear Proteins Altered in Patients with Persistent Eye Pain after Refractive Surgery: Biomarker Candidate Discovery.


Harkness BM, Chen S, Kim K, Reddy AP, McFarland TJ, Hegarty DM, Everist SJ, Saugstad JA, Lapidus J, Galor A, Aicher SA


Some patients develop persistent eye pain after refractive surgery, but factors that cause or sustain pain are unknown. We tested whether tear proteins of patients with pain 3 months after surgery differ from those of patients without pain. Patients undergoing refractive surgery (laser in situ keratomileusis or photorefractive keratectomy ) were recruited from 2 clinics, and tears were collected 3 months after surgery. Participants rated their eye pain using a numerical rating scale (NRS, 0-10; no pain-worst pain) at baseline, 1 day, and 3 months after surgery. Using tandem mass tag proteomic analysis, we examined tears from patients with pain [NRS ≥ 3 at 3 months ( = 16)] and patients with no pain [NRS ≤ 1 at 3 months ( = 32)] after surgery. A subset of proteins (83 of 2748 detected, 3.0%) were associated with pain 3 months after surgery. High-dimensional statistical models showed that the magnitude of differential expression was not the only important factor in classifying tear samples from pain patients. Models utilizing 3 or 4 proteins had better classification performance than single proteins and represented differences in both directions (higher or lower in pain). Thus, patterns of protein differences may serve as biomarkers of postsurgical eye pain as well as potential therapeutic targets.