To describe a reversible syndrome of epiphora, functional punctal stenosis, and chronic pretarsal conjunctivitis associated with corticosteroid or corticosteroid-antibiotic eyedrop use.
This is an Institutional Review Board-approved retrospective review of patients diagnosed with epiphora, punctal stenosis, and chronic conjunctivitis by a single surgeon (B.J.W.). These patients were subsequently invited to participate in a prospective study involving allergy skin patch testing for ophthalmic drops, common excipients, and active ingredients.
Thirteen patients received a diagnosis of punctal congestion syndrome. The average age was 63 years (range, 41–93) and 69.2% were female. Findings were bilateral in 61.5%. All had used preserved drops in the affected eye(s). Various antecedent diagnoses resulted in treatment with preserved drops. Patients experienced epiphora for an average of 3.8 months (median, 3 months; mode, 3 months; range, 1–8 months) prior to presentation. Two patients had undergone punctoplasty which failed to resolve symptoms. 92.3% of patients had been taking tobramycin-dexamethasone drops, loteprednol drops, or a combination of both prior to presentation. All were taken off preserved drops. 69.2% were also treated with a preservative-free loteprednol etabonate 0.5% ophthalmic ointment taper. All improved. Partial relief of symptoms was achieved by an average of 1.6 months (median, 2 months; mode, 2 months; standard deviation, ±0.7 months) and resolution of symptoms by 2.5 months (median, 2 months; mode, 2 months; standard deviation, ±1.7 months). One patient underwent patch testing with strong positive reactions to formaldehyde and neomycin and a weak positive reaction to gentamicin.
Functional punctal stenosis is associated with topical ophthalmic preparations, especially preserved corticosteroids and antibiotic-corticosteroid combinations. Treatment consists of removal of all preserved eyedrops. Symptoms often improve over several months.