Acute Ocular Pain

What Is Acute Ocular (Corneal) Pain? 

The cornea has an incredibly high density of sensory nerves, the majority of which are pain nerves. That translates into a density of pain-sensing nerves between 300 and 600 times higher than the density of pain sensors on your skin.1 The most common cause of acute ocular pain is ocular trauma that scratches the corneal surface, including accidental trauma or during cataract or refractive surgery.1,2

Current Treatment Options 

Topical anesthetics, while effective, are associated with high rates of permanent corneal blindness and therefore cannot be prescribed or dispensed directly to patients. There are numerous topical analgesics currently marketed in the United States, in both the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and corticosteroid classes. However, corticosteroids do not alleviate acute ocular pain, and have well-known side effects that include cataract formation and elevated intraocular pressure or glaucoma.1 There are rare side effects associated with topical NSAIDs; these can include significant corneal reactions such as epithelial defects, reduced rates of corneal healing, stromal ulceration, and corneal melting.3 




Vyluma is developing NVK032, a non-NSAID, non-steroid, non-anesthetic topical eye drop for the treatment of acute corneal pain, such as pain experienced after a traumatic corneal abrasion, eye surgery, or other eye injury. 


  1. Rastgarian A, Abedi H, Radmehr M, Damshenas M, Heydari E. Effects of eugenol on acute corneal pain of male rats. Pharmacophore. 2017;8(1):73-77. 
  2. Belmonte C, Nichols JJ, Cox SM, Brock JA, Begley CG, Bereiter DA, et al. TFOS DEWS II pain and sensation report. Ocul Surf. 2017;15(3):404-437. 
  3. Cataract in the adult eye PPP – 2016. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published October 2016. Accessed March 18, 2021.  
  4. Kiernan DF, Mieler WF. The use of intraocular corticosteroids. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2009;10(15):2511-2525.