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Resolution of pinguecula-related dry eye disease after argon laser photocoagulation

Authors Napoli PE, Sanna R, Iovino C, Fossarello M

Received 4 April 2017

Accepted for publication 4 May 2017

Published 24 July 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 247—250

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IMCRJ.S138786

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Yusuke Okuma

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Pietro Emanuele Napoli,1 Raffaele Sanna,1 Claudio Iovino,1 Maurizio Fossarello,1,2

1Department of Surgical Sciences, Eye Clinic, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy; 2Clinica Oculistica, San Giovanni di Dio hospital, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria di Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy


Purpose: To describe an unusual case of unilateral, chronic symptoms and signs of dry eye, and recurrent episodes of ocular irritation related to pinguecula, which were refractory to prior medical treatments, successfully treated with argon laser photocoagulation.
Methods: A 36-year-old man presented with an elevated yellowish mass on his conjunctiva in his left eye, which was associated with dry eye symptoms and general discomfort, such as “tightening sensation” and “stiffness”. On clinical assessment, the left eye revealed a mild conjunctival injection, a fluorescein break-up time (FBUT) of 3.5 s, an abnormal fluorescein staining, and a Schirmer I test of 5 mm. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging ­evidenced a height at the most elevated point of the pinguecula of 740 µm. The patient underwent ­argon-laser photocoagulation.
Results: After 2 weeks postoperatively, no residual of pinguecula or focal injection of the conjunctiva was detected by slit-lamp biomicroscopy and there was a significant improvement of clinical symptoms and signs: Schirmer I test and FBUT increased to 12 mm and >10 s, respectively, and fluorescein staining was absent. OCT imaging revealed a smooth structure of conjunctival contour, with a height of 404 µm. According to an ex juvantibus line of reasoning, definitive diagnosis was pinguecula-related dry eye disease.
Conclusion: Based on the concept that tear film instability and inflammation are two key components of the pathogenesis of dry eye, we coined the term “pinguecula-related dry eye disease,” which can be successfully treated by a complete, accurate removal of the lesion with argon laser photocoagulation.

Keywords: pinguecula, tear film instability, argon laser photocoagulation, reflex tear response, ocular surface inflammation

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