The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog

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What's that growing on my plug?

So, I’ve talked a lot over the years about plug complications resulting from plugs going places they shouldn’t, getting “lost in there”, causing trouble and not being able to be retrieved without invasive and sometimes repeated surgeries, sometimes with poor long term outcomes.

But plug “migration” is not the only possible complication of plugs.

Biofilm formation has been reported as an ongoing problem with the clinical use of occluders.

In other words, bacteria. This study’s authors looked at whether the surface characteristics of a plug type might play a role in encouraging or discouraging biofilm formation on a plug. They rated the plugs in three degrees of smoothness but noting that the very smoothest had grooves.

Bottom line… it was an issue on all three, but the smooth-plus-grooves type was worse:

The results also indicate that bacterial colonization readily occurs on all three types of occluders. The occluder with the smoothest but grooved surface (OdysseyR), displayed increased biofilm formation when compared to those with rougher surfaces.

More: Differential Bacterial Colonization and Biofilm Formation on Punctal Occluders. (Hadjiargyrou et al, Materials, January 2019)