In this cross-sectional study, we aimed to determine the prevalence and characteristics of chronic ocular itch in an outpatient ophthalmology and optometry clinic.Methods:
Four hundred patients from an outpatient ophthalmology and optometry clinic were enrolled. The presence and characteristics of chronic ocular itch were assessed by a questionnaire. Data regarding ophthalmologic, dermatologic, and systemic conditions as well as current medications were extracted from medical records.Results:
Chronic ocular itch was present in 118 (29.5%) of 400 participants. Chronic ocular pruritus was significantly more prevalent in females [P=0.015; odds ratio (OR)=1.8; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.1–2.8] and was significantly associated with the presence of allergic conjunctivitis [51.8% (n=45); P<0.001; OR=5.0; 95% CI, 3.0–8.3], dry eye syndrome [40.1% (75); P<0.001; OR=2.6; 95% CI, 1.7–4.1], blepharitis [43.8% (n=21); P=0.021; OR=2.0; 95% CI, 1.1–3.8], and atopic dermatitis [50.0% (n=10); P=0.023; OR=2.6; 95% CI, 1.1–5.8]. Chronic ocular itch was not significantly associated with systemic conditions, or the use of prescribed ophthalmologic medications.Discussion:
Chronic ocular itch is common and may be related to ophthalmologic or dermatologic pathologies. The present findings highlight the importance of identifying and managing this uncomfortable symptom that may negatively impact the quality of life and sleep of affected patients.