Purpose: To determine the clinical value and relevance of punctal and proximal canalicular stenoses after punctal plug therapy in moderate to severe dry eye syndrome.
Design: Retrospective, observational case series.
Methods: Seventeen eyes were determined to have punctum or proximal canalicular stenoses after spontaneous loss of a collared silicone punctal plug. After initial diagnosis all patients had 12 months or more of follow-up (mean, 39; range, 12 to 87 months). The clinical data collected included gender and age of patients, localization of the stenosis, plug size, duration of punctal occlusion, subjective symptoms, objective ocular surface disease parameters, and occurrence of complications.
Results: A statistically significant correlation between localization of the stenosis and plug size, and localization of the stenosis and duration of punctal occlusion could not be found. At follow-up, subjective symptoms (P < .01) and frequency of artificial tear application (P < .001) were significantly reduced compared to data before plug insertion. Schirmer I test results (P < .001), corneal fluorescein staining (P < .01), and rose bengal staining (P < .001) improved significantly, whereas tear break-up time (P < .2) and impression cytology scores of the conjunctival surface (P = .2) remained almost unchanged. Complications could not be found.
Conclusion: Within the observation period of up to seven years, all stenoses remained asymptomatic. Additionally, subjective symptoms and most dry eye parameters in our study population improved.