GALLETTI JeremÍas GastÓn
Corneal nerves and their role in dry eye pathophysiology
VEREERTBRUGGHEN, ALEXIA; GALLETTI, JEREMÍAS G.
EXPERIMENTAL EYE RESEARCH
ACADEMIC PRESS LTD-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
Año: 2022 vol. 222
As the cornea is densely innervated, its nerves are integral not only to its structure but also to its pathophysiology. Corneal integrity depends on a protective tear film that is maintained by corneal sensation and the reflex arcs that control tearing and blinking. Furthermore, corneal nerves promote epithelial growth and local immunoregulation. Thus, corneal nerves constitute pillars of ocular surface homeostasis. Conversely, the abnormal tear film in dry eye favors corneal epithelial and nerve damage. The ensuing corneal nerve dysfunction contributes to dry eye progression, ocular pain and discomfort, and other neuropathic symptoms. Recent evidence from clinical studies and animal models highlight the significant but often overlooked neural dimension of dry eye pathophysiology. Herein, we review the anatomy and physiology of corneal nerves before exploring their role in the mechanisms of dry eye disease.