Background: Many hydrogel contact lens wearers suffer from discomfort due to a variety of factors including dry eyes, old age, environmental conditions, and even contact lenses. Many patients relieve this discomfort with frequent instillation of lubrication drops, however, this can become quite inconvenient and expensive. In some cases, doctors may treat patients with punctal occlusion when there is severe discomfort that is accompanied by pathological dry eye signs. Doctors often do not offer punctal occlusion to simply improve contact lens comfort alone. It is proposed that through the placement of temporary punctal plugs, effects of punctal occlusion on the comfort of hydrogel contact lens comfort can be observed and quantified.
Methods: Hydrogel contact lens wearers with healthy eyes were invited to participate in the study. Subjects completed a subjective questionnaire pertaining to the comfort of their current contact lenses. Dissolvable collagen plugs were inserted in the subject's lower puncta. A second questionnaire was completed by the patient to report post-procedural contact lens comfort. The post-procedural questionnaires were completed 48 hours after plug insertion and mailed to the project location.
Results: The majority of patients experienced an increase in over all contact lens comfort, as well as improvements in specific discomforts, such as light sensitivity, itching, burning, tired eyes, and ease of contact lens removal.
Conclusion: This study illustrates that punctal occlusion is a treatment option for patients who desire an increase in the comfort of their hydrogel contact lenses.
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