The Dry Eye Zone

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Study: Plug retention and complications

Long-term Retention Rates and Complications of Silicone Punctal Plugs in Dry Eye

Am J Ophthalmol. 2007 Jul 11; [Epub ahead of print]
Horwath-Winter J, Thaci A, Gruber A, Boldin I.

This was a study of 95 silicone punctal plugs by FCI Ophthalmics.

RESULTS: The retention rate of the plugs was 84.2% after three months, 69.5% after one year, and 55.8% after a median of two years (range, 17 to 93 months). No infection was observed, but granulomatous formation occurred in three eyes (one with extrusion, two with intrusion). Three plugs had to be removed for local discomfort or epiphora, and one piece of a broken plug intruded. Canalicular stenosis after spontaneous loss occurred in 14.3% after three months, in 26.9% after one year, and in 34.2% after a median of two years.


Patients reading this, please bear in mind we're talking about punctal plugs, i.e. the ones that sit on the surface, not the ones shoved all the way in the cannaliculi.

Nothing surprising about the results. But given the high chances of losing plugs, we advise anyone considering getting plugs to first confirm with their doctor's office what the charge is (if any) for replacing lost plugs within the first year.
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