David G. Morrison, Gil Binenbaum, Melinda Y. Chang, Gena Hejdary, MD, PhD, Rupal H. Trivedi, Jennifer A. Galvin, Stacy L. PinelesRead More
To review the published literature assessing the efficacy and safety of in-office probing compared with facility-based probing to treat congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction (NLDO).
Literature searches were conducted in March 2020 in the PubMed database with no date restrictions and limited to studies published in English and in the Cochrane Library database with no restrictions. The combined searches yielded 281 citations. Of these, 21 articles were deemed appropriate for inclusion in this assessment and assigned a level of evidence rating by the panel methodologist. Four articles were rated level I, 2 articles were rated level II, and 15 articles were rated level III.
Treatments consisted of observation, in-office nasolacrimal probing, or facility-based nasolacrimal probing. Success rates and complications or recurrences were recorded from 1 week to 6 months after surgery. Complete resolution of symptoms after surgery ranged from 66% to 95.6% for office-based procedures versus 50% to 97.7% for facility-based procedures. Level I evidence indicated that 66% of cases spontaneously resolved after 6 months of observation in infants between 6 and 10 months of age. Success rates for in-office probing were lower for bilateral than for unilateral NLDO (67% vs. 82%), whereas success rates were high in both unilateral (83%) and bilateral (82%) patients who underwent facility-based probing after 6 months of observation. Cost data did not indicate a definitive cost savings of either treatment method ($562 for in-office vs. $701 for facility-based, depending on cost models predicting spontaneous resolution rates at different ages). No serious adverse events with treatment or anesthesia were reported for either treatment method.
Evidence supports the efficacy and safety of both in-office and facility-based surgery for congenital NLDO. However, treating bilateral NLDO in a facility setting may be better. Because a significant percentage of children achieved resolution spontaneously before 12 months of age, deferring treatment until 12 to 18 months of age is a reasonable option. Additional research may address symptom burden on families and the impact of anesthesia and emotional trauma of nonsedated office probings on patients and may explore further the cost of treatment for each treatment method.