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    Hydrogel punctal plugs safe, viable means for sustained drug delivery

    Fluorescein aids visualization, allowing physicians and patients to monitor presence



    Presence of the plugs

    Dr. Noecker and colleagues conducted a multicenter study at three sites in the United States to assess chronic replacement and subject visualization of the hydrogel punctal plugs that are intended for future sustained drug delivery over a 1-year period. Sixty healthy volunteers were enrolled in the study.

    The plugs were inserted unilaterally or bilaterally (one in each eye) based on patient eligibility. The plugs were placed into the inferior or superior punctum and were replaced at roughly 90, 180, and 300 days after insertion of the original plug.

    The study patients were asked to monitor the continued presence of the plugs using a blue light and yellow filter mirror. The plugs were loaded with fluorescein for ease of visualization. The plugs did not have to be removed because they are absorbed over time, according to Dr. Noecker.

    The interim study results indicated that replacement was successful in 93% of patients. Almost all subjects (98.3%) described the replacement of the plugs as easy or very easy. In all cases, the subjects’ confirmation of the presence of the plugs agreed with the matched investigators assessment of the presence of the plugs. The investigators were able to visualize the punctal plugs easily under the slit lamp with the blue light and yellow filter mirror, Dr. Noecker noted.


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