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Efficacy of probing as treatment of epiphora in adults with blocked nasolacrimal ducts


AIMS To determine the efficacy of probing in the initial treatment of epiphora and the symptom free period in adults with blocked nasolacrimal ducts.

METHODS The results of probing in 85 eyes with epiphora due to nasolacrimal duct obstruction were studied retrospectively after a mean follow up of 7.4 months (SD 11.6) by a questionnaire and interview survey of patients.

RESULTS 35% of the eyes had an outcome of no watering after probing, 17% mild watering, 35% moderate watering, and 11% severe watering. The patients’ satisfaction (watering subjectively improved) after undergoing this procedure was 82%, which is higher than previously reported. The mean symptom free period in eyes with no watering was 11.25 months, in eyes with mild watering 8.20 months, in eyes with moderate watering 5.35 months, and in eyes with severe watering 0.95 months. There was a significant difference (p=0.001) in the symptom free period between the no watering and severe watering groups.

CONCLUSIONS Probing in adults with confirmed nasolacrimal duct obstruction can be recommended as an initial treatment procedure because of its relatively good efficacy and high patient satisfaction without compromising subsequent surgical treatment if unsuccessful.

  • epiphora
  • nasolacrimal ducts
  • probing

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