Management of canalicular obstructions

Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2009 Sep;20(5):395-400. doi: 10.1097/ICU.0b013e32832ec3e0.


Purpose of review: The successful treatment of canalicular obstructions continues to represent a therapeutic challenge. Conjuctivodacryocystorhinostomy with a Lester Jones bypass tube is the standard treatment in these situations. Although a high rate of anatomic success can be achieved with this procedure, a relatively high rate of complications and poor patient satisfaction have been reported. Because of this, alternative techniques have emerged. Herein, we review all these techniques described in the literature.

Recent findings: Increasing interest in minimally invasive surgery and developments in fiberoptic technology have fueled advances in endocanalicular surgery. Canalicular trephination for obstructions at any level of the canalicular system and laser and balloon canaliculoplasty for focal canalicular and common canalicular stenoses may offer a well tolerated, fast and easy alternative, with potentially better patient satisfaction when compared with conjuctivodacryocystorhinostomy.

Summary: The alternative techniques to conjuctivodacryocystorhinostomy are less invasive, and respect and utilize any healthy and functional part of the canalicular system. The correct choice of the technique for a given canalicular obstruction, and therefore the long-term success, depends on the site and degree of the obstruction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Catheterization
  • Dacryocystorhinostomy*
  • Humans
  • Intubation / methods
  • Laser Therapy
  • Lasers, Solid-State / therapeutic use
  • Nasolacrimal Duct / surgery*
  • Punctures