Occlusion Therapy

Ophthalmologists and Optometrists alike embrace Occlusion Therapy as one of the most effective treatments for Dry Eye Syndrome (Dry Eye) and related Tear System Dysfunction. It is the second most common ophthalmic procedure performed by eye doctors, only after refraction for eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Occlusion Therapy is achieved through placement of dissolvable or non-dissolvable lacrimal or punctal plugs helping to preserve the natural, good quality, lubricating tears on the surface of the eyes. This treatment is especially beneficial in patients unable to receive adequate symptomatic relief from lubricating eye drops. Occlusion Therapy can also enhance the effectiveness of topically applied ocular lubricants and medications, as well as reduce their systemic side effects.

The Herrick System™ of Occlusion Therapy was developed by Robert S. Herrick, M.D. in the 1980’s and has become a world-wide recognized treatment for Dry Eye.

Robert S. Herrick, MD

 Robert S. Herrick, MDDr. Herrick is a corneal, external disease, and oculoplastics specialist with offices in Palm Springs and Lake Ellsinore, California, USA. He is the world's foremost leader in the field of Occlusion Therapy for patients with Dry Eye Syndrome (Dry Eye) and related Tear System Dysfunction.

As a young boy in New Mexico, in the 1940's, Dr. Herrick suffered from Dry Eye. He was treated with a refillable prescription for cortico-steroid eye drops and beta radiation treatments, yet continued to suffer with the symptoms. He began his medical career as a general practitioner and after ten years, with the persistence of his Dry Eye condition, decided to sub-specialize in Ophthalmology. He became a corneal specialist, specifically with the desire to remedy his own problem.

In the late 1970's, Dr. Herrick found that many doctors reserved a Dry Eye diagnosis for patients with only very extreme conditions. At that time electric cautery was the only method available to close the tear drains, so Occlusion Therapy was maintained as a treatment of last resort. Dr. Herrick discovered that some patients were being treated for Dry Eye at some of the larger academic institutions such as UCLA and USC, but were not getting the help they needed and were often told that there was nothing that could be done.

Out of his compulsion to help these patients, Dr. Herrick began researching ways to preserve the natural lubricating tears on the eye’s surface. First he pioneered and patented the “Temporary Stitch Test” which involved using a nylon suture to close the tear drain for about a week. If the patients Dry Eye symptoms improved during this test period, the doctor could proceed with electric cautery with greater confidence. As an improvement over electric cautery, Dr. Herrick invented and patented the Argon Laser Canaliculoplasty procedure in the late 1970s.

As more and more people experienced the Temporary Stitch Test (TST) prior to electric cautery or laser canaliculoplasty, Dr. Herrick noticed that many Dry Eye patients also experienced improvement of secondary non-ocular symptoms involving nasal and sinus congestion, post-nasal-drip, chronic cough and headaches .

As an improvement over the Temporary Stitch Test (which required an injection of anesthetic) Dr. Herrick went on to develop and patent the dissolvable Collagen Plugs which are used by many clinicians today in the Lacrimal Efficiency Test. The dissolvable collagen test plugs meant that children and adults could temporarily experience the benefits of Occlusion Therapy prior to having medium or long-term Occlusion Therapy performed.

In 1984 Dr. Herrick founded Lacrimedics, Inc. so that these important products for Occlusion Therapy, and related training information, could be disseminated to physicians and patients throughout the world. Today, Dr. Herrick’s son, Robert Herrick II runs Lacrimedics, and continues to promote and develop the Herrick System™ of Occlusion Therapy. This comprehensive system has evolved to include dissolvable and non-dissolvable intracanalicular plugs for short, medium, and long-term Occlusion Therapy in Dry Eye patients, and those with related Tear System Dysfunction.

Philosophically, Dr. Herrick's drive is to make the world a better place and to become a better person. This is reflected in his commitment to medicine, research and his patients. Dr. Herrick conducts research into technically advanced procedures for eye care and provides information to the lay public through the Herrick Research Institute (HRI). He continues to actively develop other concepts besides plug patents, such as intra-ocular, intra-corneal, contact lens systems, and refractive therapy patents for current technology. He interfaces with patients who have extenuating circumstances or complex circumstances around their care, and is dedicated to finding solutions.

Recent Papers by Dr. Herrick:

LACRIMAL SYSTEM DYSFUNCTION AND RESULTANT NEUROIMMUNE DYSREGULATION, “Clinical Lacrimology” by Robert S. Herrick, MD (46.kB Microsoft WORD document Microsoft Word.doc)

Download a free Word Viewer MS Word here (12 MB, for .doc files)

In the spring of 2006, Dr. Robert Herrick delivered a series of enthusiastically received presentations to the 6th International Congress of Ophthalmology and Optometry China in Shanghai, China. Then, in Hangzhou, China, speaking to hundreds of Chinese Ophthalmologists at a Corneal Congress, Dr. Herrick presented a foundational understanding of the relationship between Lacrimal System Dysfunction and corneal disease.

Extrapolating from his clinical experience in successful treatment of dry eye and other conditions caused by Lacrimal System Dysfunction, Herrick proposed a new line of research to establish causal connections between Lacrimal System Dysfunction and chronic states he terms Chronic Parasympathetic Dominance and Neuro-Immune Dysregulation. He theorized that this is the root cause of many common diseases, and that correcting the lacrimal system dysfunction provides Ophthalmologists with an effective and efficient protocol that provides tremendous, affordable relief to their patients.

How to Consult with Dr. Herrick:

Physicians may reach Dr. Herrick for consultation through his private practices in Southern California.

Robert S. Herrick, M.D.
C/O Mission Optical
32245 Mission Trail, Suite D4
Lake Elsinore, CA 92530
Tel: (951) 674-1561
Fax: (951) 674-5300


Robert S. Herrick, M.D.
C/O Evans Eye Care
44250 Town Center Way, Suite C10
Palm Desert, CA 92260
Tel: (760) 674-8806
Fax: (760) 674-8826

(800) 367-8327
434 Prune Alley, P.O. Box 1209, Eastsound, WA 98245 • USA
Tel: (360) 376-7095 • Fax: (360) 376-7085

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