PURPOSE.: To evaluate the tear meniscus changes after punctal occlusion in dry eye patients using Visante optical coherence tomography (OCT) in a prospective controlled study. METHODS.: Thirty eyes of 15 symptomatic dry eye patients not responding to non-preserved artificial tears received additional upper and lower punctal occlusion with silicone plugs, and 30 eyes of 15 age-and sex-matched dry eye control patients received only non-preserved artificial tears treatment for 1 month. All subjects underwent tear meniscus height (TMH) measurements with Visante OCT. All study participants also underwent slitmicroscopy graticule scale TMH measurement, strip meniscometry testing, tear film break-up time measurement, ocular surface vital staining with fluorescein and Rose Bengal dyes, and the Schirmer-1 test. Both groups, dry eye and control group patients, were examined before and after 1-month treatment. Wilcoxon-matched pair test was performed. The study was conducted in compliance with the Tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki. RESULTS.: TMH measurements by OCT and slitlamp graticule scale significantly improved after punctal occlusion (p < 0.001) and remain unchanged in the dry eye control patients. Similarly, strip meniscometry scores, mean tear stability values, Rose Bengal, and fluorescein staining scores showed significant improvement after punctal occlusion (p < 0.05). Schirmer-1 test values tended to be higher after 1 month of treatment in both groups without any statistical significance (p > 0.05). CONCLUSIONS.: OCT TMH measurement appears to be effective in monitoring tear meniscus changes after punctal occlusion. OCT can be a valuable non-invasive and quick clinical tool for evaluation of treatment responses in dry eye patients.
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