Does Topical Ophthalmic Anesthetic Prior to Probing and Irrigation Decrease Pain?

2020-01-21 11:31:47 | BioPortfolio


Purpose: It is unknown whether instillation of a drop of anesthetic ophthalmic solution into the eye such as proparacaine hydrochloride 0.5% prior to probing and irrigation of the tear duct (lacrimal drainage) system improves patient comfort during the procedure. To date, there have been no formal studies evaluating the possible benefit of this pretreatment.

Methods: Patients 18 years and older who present to the William Beaumont Hospital - Royal Oak, Michigan outpatient ophthalmology clinic with a chief complaint of epiphora (excessive tearing) who necessitate bilateral lower lid probing and irrigation of the lacrimal drainage system will be enrolled in the study. One eye will be randomized to receive a drop of the anesthetic Proparacaine hydrochloride 0.5% and the other eye will receive a control drop of Balanced Salt Solution (BSS). Probing and irrigation will then be performed in the usual fashion. The patient will then be questioned via survey on a pain scale of 1-5 as to the amount of subjective pain experienced on each side during the procedure.

Expected Results: We expect patients' eyes that have received a drop of Proparacaine hydrochloride 0.5% prior to performance of probing and irrigation will experience statistically significantly less pain compared to the eyes which have received the control drop.


Rationale: It is common for male and female adult patients of all races with a chief complaint of epiphora (excessive tearing) to express discomfort either verbally or through body language while undergoing tear duct (canalicular) probing and irrigation even when no pathology is detected. Use of a topical anesthetic during canalicular probing and irrigation is seen in pediatric patients but has yet to be formally investigated in adults to date. The goal of this study is to identify whether or not instillation of a drop of Proparacaine hydrochloride 0.5% ophthalmic solution into a patient's eye prior to performance of probing and irrigation will improve patient comfort during the procedure and is therefore recommended.

Hypothesis: Administration of a drop of Proparacaine hydrochloride 0.5% ophthalmic solution into the eye prior to probing and irrigation of the lower lid canalicular system will decrease patient discomfort as compared to a control drop of BSS ophthalmic solution into the opposite eye prior to the same procedure.

Null hypothesis: Administration of a drop of Proparacaine hydrochloride 0.5% ophthalmic solution does not have an effect on patient discomfort during canalicular probing and irrigation.

Medication: Proparacaine hydrochloride ophthalmic solution, United States Pharmacopeia (USP) 0.5% is a local anesthetic drug intended for topical ophthalmic use. Proparacaine Hydrochloride ophthalmic solution is a fast-acting anesthetic lasting 10-20 minutes. Proparacaine hydrochloride ophthalmic solution, USP 0.5% is FDA approved for this indication.

Probing and irrigation: A common in-office ophthalmic procedure performed with a small gauge, blunt tube on a syringe filled with BSS. The cannula is placed into the canaliculus (tear duct) of one eyelid, and the BSS is used to irrigate the lacrimal system. This procedure identifies whether or not obstruction of the lacrimal system is present. A patient with an open (patent) system will taste the salty BSS solution in the nose. A patient with a nasolacrimal duct obstruction (NLDO) or a more proximal canalicular obstruction will have reflux of the irrigant out of the opposite lid (on the same side) canaliculus, the probed canaliculus, or both and will usually not detect any irrigant within the nasopharynx.


Nasolacrimal drainage system: The physiologic apparatus which drains tears from the surface of the eye into the nose (i.e. the tear drain). It consists of (from eye to nose) the punctum (opening of the tube), the canaliculus (a thin tube within the eyelid), the lacrimal sac (a sac that hold the tears that lies within the bone of the nose) and finally the nasolacrimal duct (a duct that connects the lacrimal sac (-lacrimal) into the nose (naso-). A blockage anywhere along this pathway can cause epiphora.

Epiphora: The pathological process of tears overflowing from the ocular surface and rolling down the face. Commonly caused by obstructions of the lacrimal drainage system. Can cause significant patient irritation and loss of vision.

Study Design




Proparacaine Hydrochloride ophthalmic solution, USP 0.5%, Balanced salt solution


William Beaumont Hospitals
Royal Oak
United States


Not yet recruiting


William Beaumont Hospitals

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2020-01-21T11:31:47-0500

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Hypertonic sodium chloride solution. A solution having an osmotic pressure greater than that of physiologic salt solution (0.9 g NaCl in 100 ml purified water).

The pressure required to prevent the passage of solvent through a semipermeable membrane that separates a pure solvent from a solution of the solvent and solute or that separates different concentrations of a solution. It is proportional to the osmolality of the solution.

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