In most cases of dry eye syndrome requiring punctum plugs or punctum closure, placement of one plug in (or closure of) each lower punctum will suffice to alleviate the problem; Medicare will reimburse for two plugs per beneficiary or two permanent closures per beneficiary on any given day. Up to two additional plugs or two additional closures may be performed for a total of four, but documentation must clearly show that the two additional plugs or closures were medically necessary as additional treatment to alleviate the condition. While the clinician’s right to choose between temporary and semi-permanent plugs is respected, the semi-permanent plugs afford a more extensive trial of punctum closure, and may better serve to delineate candidates for permanent closure. Medicare recognizes that a semi-permanent plug may become dislodged before an adequate three-month trial of this therapy is completed. Additional punctum plugs may be provided for within this time period with the submission of documentation. Medicare expects these plugs to be a transitional therapy, as definitive closure and alternative topical pharmacologic therapy is available. Patients who, for defined medical reasons, cannot tolerate permanent closure or pharmacologic therapy will be considered for semi-permanent plugs after a three-month period, only with the submission of medical documentation.
Notice: This LCD imposes diagnosis limitations that support diagnosis to procedure code automated denials. However, services performed for any given diagnosis must meet all of the indications and limitations stated in this policy, the general requirements for medical necessity as stated in CMS payment policy manuals, any and all existing CMS national coverage determinations, and all Medicare payment rules.
As published in CMS IOM 100-08, Section 13.5.1, to be covered under Medicare, a service shall be reasonable and necessary. When appropriate, contractors shall describe the circumstances under which the proposed LCD for the service is considered reasonable and necessary under Section 1862(a)(1)(A). Contractors shall consider a service to be reasonable and necessary if the contractor determines that the service is:
  • Safe and effective.
  • Not experimental or investigational (exception: routine costs of qualifying clinical trial services with dates of service on or after September 19, 2000, which meet the requirements of the clinical trials NCD are considered reasonable and necessary).
  • Appropriate, including the duration and frequency that is considered appropriate for the service, in terms of whether it is:
    • Furnished in accordance with accepted standards of medical practice for the diagnosis or treatment of the patient’s condition or to improve the function of a malformed body member.
    • Furnished in a setting appropriate to the patient’s medical needs and condition.
    • Ordered and furnished by qualified personnel.
    • One that meets, but does not exceed, the patient’s medical need.
    • At least as beneficial as an existing and available medically appropriate alternative.
Bill Type Codes
Revenue Codes
Providers are reminded to refer to the long descriptors of the CPT codes in their CPT book. The American Medical Association (AMA) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) require the use of shortCPT descriptors in policies published on the Web.
Close tear duct opening
Close tear duct opening
ICD-9-CM Codes That Support Medical Necessity
The CPT/HCPCS codes included in this LCD will be subjected to “procedure to diagnosis” editing. The following lists include only those diagnoses for which the identified CPT/HCPCS procedures are covered. If a covered diagnosis is not on the claim, the edit will automatically deny the service as not medically necessary.
Medicare is establishing the following limited coverage for CPT/HCPCS codes 68760 and 68761:
Covered for:
Corneal ulcer
Superficial keratitis without conjunctivitis
Filamentary keratitis
Certain types of keratoconjunctivitis
Recurrent erosion of cornea
Tear film insufficiency unspecified
Sicca syndrome
Note: Providers should continue to submit ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes without decimals on their claim forms and electronic claims.
Diagnoses That Support Medical Necessity
ICD-9-CM Codes That DO NOT Support Medical Necessity
Diagnoses That DO NOT Support Medical Necessity
All diagnoses not listed in the “ICD-9-CM Codes That Support Medical Necessity” section of this LCD.