Purpose To evaluate the efficacy of a thermosensitive atelocollagen punctal plug in the treatment of dry eye disease. Design Prospective observational case series. Methods The thermosensitive atelocollagen punctal plug was warmed at 37 C, 39 C, 41 C, and 43 C to evaluate the appropriate temperature and time for solidification. Dry eye patients were divided into 2 groups according to the preparation method of the atelocollagen punctal plug. In the conventional implantation group, atelocollagen gel was kept at room temperature for 15 minutes before implantation (27 eyes of 14 patients). In the preheating group, atelocollagen was warmed at 41 C for 8 minutes before implantation (23 eyes of 13 dry eye patients). Strip meniscometry, vital stainings, tear film break-up time (BUT), and symptom scores were evaluated before and 1 month after plug implantation. Results In vitro experiments revealed that heating at 41 C for 8 minutes was sufficient to solidify the gel. The mean fluorescein score in the conventional implantation group significantly improved after treatment (before, 3.5 ± 2.3 points; after, 2.5 ± 0.9 points, P <.05). In the preheating group, the mean fluorescein score (before, 3.7 ± 1.7 points; after, 1.5 ± 1.2 points), strip meniscometry (before, 0.6 ± 0.7 mm; after, 1.1 ± 0.3 mm), BUT (before, 3.2 ± 0.7 seconds; after, 4.8 ± 1.0 seconds), and visual analog scale scores (before, 6.6 ± 1.5 points; after, 4.1 ± 0.9 points) significantly improved after treatment (P <.05). Conclusion The thermosensitive atelocollagen punctal plug was effective for dry eye treatment. The preheating method was found to be useful to strengthen the efficacy of the thermosensitive atelocollagen punctal plug.
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