Published by MD Magazine

There may be a correlation between dry eye (DE) and chronic pain in the US military veteran population.

In a retrospective review of Florida veterans medical records between 2010 and 2014, researchers found a correlation between severity DE symptoms and non-ocular pain. They also found that individuals with chronic overlapping pain conditions (COPC) had more severe DE symptoms, but similar ocular surface signs.

The study, led by Charity J. Lee, from the Miami Veterans Administration Medical Center and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami, was presented at the 121st Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO 2017) in New Orleans, LA.

Chronic pain, as defined by the researchers as a pain that persists beyond expected resolution — or about 3 months — is prevalent in 116 million US adults.

Lee explained that COPC is common among non-ocular conditions, including back pain, migraines, and fibromyalgia. With DE, a multifactorial disease that affects about 15% of US citizens, the same is held in a veteran population.

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