Tear Duct Implants May Help Alleviate Post-Surgery Pain

One of the major problems with cataract surgery patients is that many of them fail to comply with usage of topical eye drops. These drops are designed to reduce pain and inflammation that often occur following these surgeries. Because of the age of the majority of these patients, compliance with these drops is often neglected. During this year’s AAO conference in Chicago, a new solution was announced that can help cataract surgery patients get the medication their eyes need without the need to follow an eye drop regimen.

The solution is a form of tear duct implants called a punctum plug. The punctum plug releases the exact amount of anti-inflammatory pain medication needed over a period of 30 days. After 30 days, the plug liquefies and is passed through the tear duct, meaning there is no need for removal.

To test this new solution, a study was conducted among 60 cataract surgery patients. Thirty of them were given a punctum plug with the medication (dexamethasone) and the other thirty were given a placebo. Both groups were assessed over a period of 30 to study the amount of pain and inflammation each group experienced.

On the very first day of the study, the placebo group reported a pain score three times higher than the medicated group. By the fourteenth day, their score was eleven times higher than the other group.

The inflammation results were also staggering. Thirty percent of the medicated group showed no inflammation by day 14, compared to just three percent in the placebo group. On day 30, these numbers stood at 60 percent for the medicated group and just 13 percent for the placebo group.

Punctum plugs are being further evaluated at may be offered to more cataract surgery patients in the future. It’s exciting news for those in the eye care industry who would like to make these procedures more comfortable for their patients.

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