To examine the retention rates and efficacy of silicone punctal plugs for the treatment of dry eye disease (DED) in patients with ocular graft-versus-host-disease (oGVHD) in comparison to dry eye disease due to non-oGVHD etiologies.
We reviewed the case-records of 864 consecutive patients with DED who were symptomatic despite topical therapy and had silicone punctal plugs placed over an eight-year- period at a single academic center. We compared plug retention rates in oGVHD and non-oGVHD DED patients using Kaplan-Meier analyses. Furthermore, we analyzed changes in objective ocular surface parameters including tear breakup time (TBUT), Schirmer’s test, and corneal fluorescein staining (CFS) score in plug-retaining patients at two-, six- and twelve-month follow-up.
Median age of dry eye patients was 58 years, and 606 (70%) of patients were women. In the cohort, 264 (31%) patients were diagnosed with oGVHD. Plug retention was significantly lower in oGVHD-DED patients compared to non-oGVHD-DED patients (p < 0.0001). We observed significant improvement in CFS scores in plug retaining-oGVHD and non-oGVHD DED patients at all time points. Tear break-up time was significantly prolonged at six- and twelve-months follow-up in non-oGVHD patients, whereas significant change in TBUT in oGVHD patients was recorded only at twelve months post plug placement. Schirmer's score improved significantly in plug retaining-non-oGVHD DED patients at six- and twelve-months follow-up, however no significant change was observed in Schirmer's score in oGVHD DED patients.
An improvement in ocular surface disease parameters was observed in both plug-retaining oGVHD and non-oGVHD DED patients. However, a majority of oGVHD DED patients spontaneously lost their punctal plugs within 90 days of placement. Therefore, regular follow-up after plug placement is recommended to detect plug loss and ensure adequate disease control.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.