Dry Eye / OSD

Corneal nerve loss linked to ocular pain in diabetic patients with dry eye

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There is a significant link between corneal nerve loss and ocular pain in diabetic patients with dry eye disease (DED), according to a study.

The research highlights the importance of understanding the neurological aspects of ocular surface diseases, as it may lead to improved diagnostics, prognostics, and treatment strategies for diabetic individuals suffering from DED-related discomfort.

The cross-sectional study included 26 patients (52 eyes) with diabetes without reported ocular pain and 36 patients (72 eyes) with diabetes experiencing ocular discomfort.

There was a significant difference in corneal nerve fiber density (CNFD), corneal nerve branch density (CNBD), and corneal nerve fiber length (CNFL) between the 2 groups (P < 0.001, P = 0.004, and P < 0.001, respectively). Specifically, patients with ocular pain exhibited notably lower values.

A negative correlation was observed between CNFD, CNBD, CNFL, and the reported levels of ocular pain (r = -0.385, r = -0.260, r = -0.358, respectively). Notably, corneal sensitivity displayed a significant positive correlation with CNFD, CNBD, and CNFL (r = 0.523, r = 0.330, r = 0.421, respectively).

Qin G, Chen J, Li L, et al. Relationship between ocular surface pain and corneal nerve loss in dry eye diabetics: a cross-sectional study in Shenyang, China. BMJ Open. 2023;13(9):e076932. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2023-076932. PMID: 37751961.