Acute hyperalgesia and delayed dry eye after corneal abrasion injury
Hegarty, DM, Hermes, SM, Morgan MM, Aicher SA. (2018). Acute hyperalgesia and delayed dry eye after corneal abrasion injury. PAIN Reports. 3(4):e664. doi: 10.1097
Dr. Sue Aicher, Professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, and her research team published results showing that after a superficial injury of the cornea (tissue covering the front of the eye), rats show a short-lasting increase in pain (hyperalgesia), but then later have dry eye symptoms that may be caused by nerve damage. These findings are intriguing in light of recent studies in humans showing a very high prevalence of chronic dry eye after LASIK surgery.
Future studies in the Aicher lab will explore the molecular mechanisms of eye pain, as well as mechanisms of the sensory recovery that is seen after corneal nerve injury. The corneal nerves appear resilient in their ability to recover sensory function even after severe injury, which could be helpful for assisting with recovery from pain after other types of nerve injury.