A Punctal Plug may not be the answer for every Dry Eye patient, but for some, it’s the relief they need.
Many people have chronic symptoms of dry eyes. There are countless different brands of artificial tears that are available when you go to the drug store, and most people have tried several at some point in their quest to find relief. For many people with dry eyes, over the counter artificial tears do provide an adequate amount of relief for those symptoms. In our office, we also experience many patients that do not find that these completely eliminate their dry eye complaints. What can we do for these patients, you ask?
Well, when artificial tears or increasing the amount of tears in your eye does not help with symptoms of dry eye, the next step is usually to decrease the amount of tears that drain from the eye. A punctal plug can accomplish this. A punctal plug is a small silicone device that is inserted into the lower tear duct to help increase the quantity of tears that remain on the ocular surface by decreasing the amount of tears that drain from the eye.
In many patients, a temporary plug made out of collagen is inserted first to determine if a patient will gain any relief in symptoms from this procedure. The collagen plug dissolves over a period of 7-10 days. This is a period where the patient can decide whether or not a more permanent plug is necessary.
It is important to know that punctal plugs come in several different shapes and many different sizes. Your doctor will determine which size best fits you as an individual. Although the silicone plugs are designed to stay in the eye indefinitely, they can come out, especially after excessive rubbing. If at any time there is a need to remove the punctal plug, your doctor can easily remove this device in the office.
Although punctal plugs are not for every patient, they do give you and your doctor another option to combat dry eyes, especially if your symptoms do not respond well to topical tear supplements.
Call us today at 404-897-6810 if you would like to discuss this option with one of our physicians.