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Jones lacrimal bypass tubes in children and adults
  1. Ilse Mombaerts,
  2. Elodie Witters
  1. Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Professor Ilse Mombaerts, Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven 3000, Belgium; ilse.mombaerts{at}
  • Present affiliation The present affiliation of Ilse Mombaerts is: †Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospitals Leuven, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium


Background/aims Although a Jones tube is considered the mainstay for epiphora in patients with total blockage of the canalicular system, it has been discouraged in children for reasons of inadequate self-care and maintenance. The purpose of this study is to compare the long-term outcome of Jones tube surgery in paediatric versus adult patients.

Methods Retrospective, interventional case series of a single academic institution. The medical records of all children (≤16 years old) and adults (>16 years old) who underwent conjunctivorhinostomy with placement of a 130° angled extended Jones tube were reviewed. The outcome measures were patency and anatomical position of the tube, type and frequency of complications and subjective relief of epiphora.

Results The study included 10 children (11 eyes) (range, 5.1–16.0 years old) and 102 adults (127 eyes) (range, 19.7–82.4 years old). The success and complication rate did not differ between the two age groups. Tube dislodgement and obstruction occurred in 4 (36.4%) of the paediatric tubes with an incidence rate of 6.1%/year and in 47 (37.0%) of the adult tubes with an incidence rate of 9.3%/year (p=0.3867). Two adults required routine self-irrigation of the tube. The median follow-up was 6.7 years for the children and 8.7 years for the adults (p=0.3430).

Conclusion With a similar outcome profile and minimal self-care, young age is not a prognostic nor limiting factor for surgery with angled Jones tubes. Exchange with tubes of a longer length is not required during growth.

  • canalicular obstruction
  • conjunctivodacryocystorhinostomy
  • conjunctivorhinostomy
  • Jones tube
  • lacrimal bypass

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  • Contributors IM, EW: data collection, data analysis and interpretation and manuscript drafting. IM: manuscript editing and approval.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethical Committee UZLeuven.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data available.