The treatment of aqueous-deficient dry eye with removable punctal plugs. A clinical and impression-cytologic study

Ophthalmology. 1987 May;94(5):514-8. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(87)33417-7.


Punctal plugs were placed in 18 dry eye patients of the aqueous-deficiency type who were on maximally tolerable medical therapy and who had Schirmer testing with topical anesthetic measuring less than 6 mm. Pretreatment and posttreatment evaluations included rose Bengal and fluorescein staining, Schirmer testing, and conjunctival impression cytology. Six weeks after plug placement, 11 of 18 patients had subjective improvement and were able to decrease dependency on tear supplements; all of these patients have successfully worn plugs for at least 8 months. Although these 11 patients improved clinically, impression cytologic abnormalities persisted 6 weeks after plug placement. Three patients did not improve clinically after punctal plug therapy, and four patients improved subjectively but extruded plugs within 2 weeks of placement. Three of the patients who extruded plugs had marked lid laxity and dilated puncta before placement. Reversible punctal occlusion by plugs may significantly decrease dependency on tear supplements in selected patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aqueous Humor / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lacrimal Apparatus*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostheses and Implants*
  • Xerophthalmia / diagnosis
  • Xerophthalmia / physiopathology
  • Xerophthalmia / therapy*