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April 20, 1970

Itching, Burning Eyes

Author Affiliations

Jules Stein Eye Institute Los Angeles
Burlingame, Calif

JAMA. 1970;212(3):482. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170160070025

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To the Editor.—  In recent years there has been an increase in the number of persons seeking medical attention with the chief complaint of "itchy-burning eyes." Typically, the patient complains of smarting, burning, itching, excessive tearing, and redness of the eyes. On examination, the ophthalmologist frequently finds little objective physical evidence of ocular irritation. The usual signs of conjunctival inflammation, including congestion of vessels, follicle formation, papillae, and discharge are not found. Rarely, there is minimal conjunctival (either bulbar or palpebral) injection. The Schirmer test is negative and there is no demonstrable hypersensitivity to cosmetics or drugs as indicated by the presence of an eosinophilia.The authors reviewed and abstracted 50 cases of patients presenting to the Jules Stein Eye Institute clinic with these symptoms. Following is a summary of findings from these patients.Of the 50 patients, 49 were women and one was a man. Forty-six had consulted ophthalmologists