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Dysfunction at various levels of the somatosensory system can lead to ocular surface pain with a neuropathic component. Compared to nociceptive pain (due to noxious stimuli at the ocular surface), neuropathic pain tends to be chronic and refractory to therapies, making it an important source of morbidity in the population. An understanding of the options available for neuropathic ocular surface pain, including new and emerging therapies, is thus an important topic. This review will examine studies focusing on ocular surface pain, emphasizing those examining patients with a neuropathic component. Attention will be placed toward recent (after 2017) studies that have examined new and emerging therapies for neuropathic ocular surface pain. Several therapies have been studied thus far, and continued research is needed to identify which individuals would benefit from specific therapies. Gaps in our understanding exist, especially with availability of in-clinic diagnostics for neuropathic pain. A focus on improving diagnostic capabilities and researching gene-modulating therapies could help us to provide more specific mechanism-based therapies for patients. In the meantime, continuing to uncover new modalities and examining which are likely to work depending on pain phenotype remains an important short-term goal.


Sneh Patel, Rhiya Mittal, Konstantinos D Sarantopoulos, Anat Galor. Neuropathic ocular surface pain: Emerging drug targets and therapeutic implications. Expert opinion on therapeutic targets. 2022 Sep 20:1-15

PMID: 36069761

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