What Are Punctal Plugs?
If you are suffering from dry eyes, you probably may have heard this term from your eye doctor. It is one of main AND effective treatments for patients with dry eyes.
“How does punctal plugs help with my dry eyes?” Glad you asked that.
Here’s a quick run down:
Our eyes produce tears. Lubricates our eyes. Then, it drains through two holes that’s located on our inner eyelids as we blink. One on the top and the other on the bottom.
The punctal plug is placed on the bottom punctum because it is the main drainage for the tears (See Picture).
When it is plugged up, the tears remain on the surface of the eye a little longer providing relief and stable vision. Don’t worry, you won’t be tearing all day, the top punctum still drains the tears.
Most of the time, we use a temporary punctal plug that dissolves over 3-4 weeks. During that time, we follow up on the 4th or 5th to re-evaluate the eyes and to see if you noticed any improvement in symptoms. If you do, then we would place a more semi-permanent one that is made out of silicone.
Image from Oasis Medical
There are hardly any side effects. Some may be allergic to the material and/or excessive tearing. If those do occur, we simply remove it.
Patients are very well tolerated with the punctal plugs in place. What is even better…is that their dry eyes are more manageable now! Before, they would have to use eye drops 100x’s day to “feel” better. With the drainage blocked, the use of eye drops are less frequent as it stays on the eyes a little longer. That also means less money spent on eye drops. I think it’s a win-win situation.
FYI, punctal plugs and follow visits are done under your medical insurance plan.
If you are dealing with dry eyes and tired of using lubricant tears excessively, consider punctal plugs as an option! Give us a call or contact us here (link) to find out how we can improve your quality of life!