The aim of this study was to compare the incidence of post laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) dry eye with and without intraoperative extended duration temporary punctal plug placement.
This retrospective study included myopicastigmatic eyes without a preoperative diagnosis of dry eye disease that underwent LASIK surgery between January 2017, and March 2018. Patients who received punctal plugs during surgery in addition to usual postoperative care were compared to a control group who received usual postoperative care alone. Visual acuity, safety and efficacy indices, as well as predictability and presence of dry eye disease were assessed 3-6 months after surgery.
A total of 345 eyes of 345 patients were included, 172 eyes received punctal plugs and 173 did not. The mean age was 30.4 ± 10 years (range: 17-60 years) and 46.1% (N = 159) were female. Both groups were similar in terms of preoperative parameters, including age, gender, spherical equivalent, pachymetry or contact lens use. Patients treated with punctal plugs had significantly less postoperative dry eye complaints (N = 37 vs. 58, 21.5% vs. 34.1% respectively, P = 0.001). Patients treated with plugs that did develop dry eye disease did so later (51.2 ± 77.64 days’ vs. 20.78 ± 26.9 days, P = 0.009). Postoperative visual acuities were similar between groups (P > 0.05) at all postoperative follow-up visits as were safety (0.95 ± 0.16 vs. 0.99 ± 0.09, P = 0.30) and efficacy (1.01 ± 0.13 vs. 1.00 ± 0.11, P = 0.52) indices.
Preventative temporary punctal plug placement during LASIK appears to reduce dry eye disease in the short term, without affecting visual acuity outcomes.