Laryngopharyngeal reflux-associated symptoms embrace a wide variety of head and neck manifestations. Its participation in eye disorders has recently been postulated, and there is currently no consensus in this regard. The aim of this manuscript is to review the role of reflux in the development of ocular signs and symptoms, and its physio-pathological mechanisms.
A systematic approach based on the preferred reporting Items for a systematic review and meta-analysis checklist with a modified population, intervention, comparison, and outcome framework was used to structure the review process of studies that evaluated the possible association, with clear diagnostic methods, of laryngopharyngeal reflux and ocular signs and symptoms. Search was conducted in different indexed databases (PubMed/MEDLINE, the Cochrane Library, Scielo and Web of Science) and through the meta-searcher Trip Database with the keywords: reflux, laryngitis, laryngopharyngeal, gastroesophageal, ocular, eye, symptoms, signs, conjunctivitis, keratitis, dacryocystitis, dry eye.
Seven studies met the inclusion criteria, in which the primary acquired nasolacrimal duct obstruction and the ocular surface disease were evaluated. The local increase of eye pepsin concentration (>2.5 ng/mL) may affect ocular surface though its direct proteolytic activity and the local expression of proinflammatory cytokines. The H. Pylori, with a similar mechanism to reach the lacrimonasal duct, would be associated with the release of proinflammatory and vasoactive substances that would lead to a mucosa injury and chronic inflammation. Ocular Surface Disease Index seems to correlate directly with the reflux severity, with cut-off of 41.67 score as predictor for disease.
The role of laryngopharyngeal reflux in the development of ocular disorders has not yet been demonstrated and data are limited and heterogeneous. It seems theoretically conceivable that pepsin may reach lachrymal duct area through hypopharyngeal-nasal gaseous reflux events. Future studies using objective testing for diagnosis and pepsin detection into the tear and nasal mucosa are needed in order to explore this potential relationship.

Copyright © 2021 The Voice Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.