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Decreased corneal sensitivity and tear production in fibromyalgia

AuthorsGallar, Juana; Morales, Celia; Freire, Vanesa; Acosta, M. Carmen; Belmonte, Carlos; Durán, Juan A.
Issue Date2009
PublisherAssociation for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
CitationInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 50(9): 4129- 4134 (2009)
AbstractPURPOSE. To investigate corneal sensitivity to selective mechanical, chemical, heat, and cold stimulation in patients with fibromyalgia (FM). METHODS. Twenty patients with FM (18 women, 2 men; 51.9 ± 2.3 years old) and 18 control subjects (16 women, 2 men; 51.7 ± 2.4 years) participated voluntarily in the study. Subjective symptoms of ocular dryness were explored and a Schirmer I test was performed. The response to selective stimulation of the central cornea with the Belmonte gas esthesiometer was measured. RESULTS. The majority (18/20) of patients with FM reported dry eye symptoms, with the ocular dryness score significantly higher in affected subjects than in healthy ones (2.3 ±0.1 vs. 0.05 ±0.02; P <0.001). The Schirmer test results were significantly lower in patients with FM than in those in the control group (10.5±2.2 and 30.6±1.6 mm, respectively; P < 0.001). Mean corneal threshold sensitivity values to chemical stimulation (31.16% ±2.04% CO2FM; 15.72%±0.67% CO2control), heat (1.87±0.11°C FM; 0.99 ± 0.05°C control), and cold (±2.53 ±0.11°C FM; ±0.76±0.05°C control) were increased in patients with FM, whereas threshold responses to mechanical stimulation did not vary significantly (123.0 ±8.0 mL/min FM; 107.8 ±4.4 mL/min control). CONCLUSIONS. The reduced corneal sensitivity of patients with fibromyalgia is attributable to a moderate decrease in corneal polymodal and cold nociceptor sensitivity, which may be the consequence or the cause of the chronic reduction in tear secretion also observed in these patients. © Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1167/iovs.08-3083
issn: 0146-0404
e-issn: 1552-5783
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