September 13, 2014
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Inflammation may link chronic ocular discomfort, mental health disorders

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LONDON — Inflammatory conditions may be a factor relating chronic ocular discomfort with mental health disorders, according to a speaker here.

 “The relationship between chronic ocular discomfort and psychiatric disorders has been well-documented,” Juan A. Durán, MD, told colleagues at the EuCornea Congress.

There is evidence of high levels of inflammatory biomarkers in patients with depression and a high incidence of inflammatory disorders in patients with depression. Additionally, inflammation can cause and perpetuate depression, he said.

Juan A. Durán

Similarly, there is an inflammatory component to dry eye.

“When we go to the definition of ‘dry eye,’ a very important word is ‘inflammation,’” Durán said.

Chronic ocular discomfort is a relevant health problem, as it generates a negative impact on patients’ quality of life, he said.

“Chronic ocular discomfort is one of the main reasons for ophthalmic consultation,” Durán said. “Most of these cases are diagnosed and managed as dry eye.”

Frequently, however, complaints are not well-explained, there is no correlation between signs and symptoms, treatments are ineffective, and patients disrupt workflow in the office by demanding attention, according to Durán.

When the patient’s complaints are not supported by clinical findings, the disease may be associated with well-being disorders, he said. In those cases, Durán suggested clinicians reconsider their treatment by relating scientifically chronic discomfort with some mental health disorders and considering new therapeutic strategies.

Disclosure: No companies or products are mentioned that would require financial disclosure.