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November 2003

PainA Neuro-ophthalmic Perspective

Arch Ophthalmol. 2003;121(11):1633. doi:10.1001/archopht.121.11.1633

PAIN IS said to be the single most common symptom that brings patients to physicians. Although this statement probably is not as true for ophthalmologists as for other physicians, patients with pain are by no means rare in an ophthalmic practice. It behooves ophthalmologists to inquire about and characterize pain. In most cases the lesion responsible for the pain can be identified and treated, or reassurance can be provided. The relief of symptoms is a noble goal. In other cases the history of pain leads to concern about underlying serious disease. Neuro-ophthalmic disorders are considerations in this context; therefore, referral to a neuro-ophthalmologist is not uncommon. Neuro-ophthalmologists are not experts on pain, yet ours is a subspecialty in which the history is sovereign, and we tend to carefully analyze this symptom because its presence or absence can help to make an accurate diagnosis.

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