Purpose: To investigate effects of lacrimal drainage occlusion with intracanalicular silicone plugs in hydrogel lens wearers with the symptom of dryness. Effects of rewetting drops in combination with the plugs were also evaluated.
Methods: A 6-week, prospective, double masked, placebo-controlled study design was followed. Thirty-five patients (26 females and 9 males) were entered into the study based on specific symptoms and signs of dry eye with hydrogel lens wear. Baseline symptoms, noninvasive prelens tear film break-up time, lens water content, fluorescein, and rose bengal staining were recorded. Herrick Lacrimal Plugs were inserted into both canaliculi of one previously randomized eye by an independent investigator. The fellow eye was manipulated in a sham procedure. Symptoms and signs were followed over 4 weeks. Nonpreserved rewetting drops were used in both eyes during the 5th week. Symptoms and signs were again followed.
Results: Symptoms improved more significantly in the plugged eye than the control eye after insertion of the plugs, and again after use of the drops. This improvement diminished in some of the patients. Prelens tear film break-up time was not significantly changed. Water content of all lenses combined increased only in the plugged eye with the use of drops. Fluorescein staining decreased significantly in the plugged eye. Rose bengal staining showed a slight decrease in the plugged eye.
Conclusions: Intracanalicular silicone plugs offer improvement of symptoms and signs of dryness in this population. There seems to be some decrease in improvement of symptoms with the plugs over time. Concurrent use of rewetting drops increases the benefits.