To determine whether canalicular occlusion with collagen and silicone plugs reduces the severity of symptoms in patients with conjunctivitis secondary to dry eye.
This was a prospective, randomized, double-masked study conducted at a single center in Mexico, in which 61 patients with dry eye/conjunctivitis were assigned to progressive lacrimal occlusion with collagen and silicone plugs or a sham procedural group. Outcome variables included total and individual dry eye and conjunctivitis symptom scores, moisturizing agent usage, best-corrected visual acuity, ocular comfort level, visual performance, corneal/conjunctival fluorescein staining, and incidence of adverse events.
Total dry eye and conjunctival symptom scores were reduced by 43.7 and 33.7%, respectively 2 weeks after occlusion of all four lacrimal canaliculi with collagen plugs, increasing to 77.4 and 72.1% 2 weeks later following superior canalicular occlusion of both eyes with silicone plugs and inferior placement of collagen plugs. At the 8-week visit (4 weeks after silicone plug implantation of the inferior canaliculi of both eyes), the reduction in total dry eye and conjunctival symptom scores further increased to 94.2 and 93.0%, respectively, accompanied by a marked decline in each of the seven individual symptom scores (dryness, watery eyes, itching, burning, foreign body, fluctuating vision, and light sensitivity). In concert with these changes, moisturizing agent usage and corneal/conjunctival fluorescein staining decreased in a progressive fashion over the 8-week study period, and best-corrected visual acuity, ocular comfort, and visual performance improved in the absence of any treatment-related adverse events except for one case of epiphora. The response of patients to lacrimal occlusion can be sharply contrasted with the sham procedure group, which remained relatively unchanged from baseline at each of the study visits.
Progressive lacrimal occlusion with collagen and silicone plugs was of clinical benefit to patients with dry eye and conjunctivitis.