A punctum plug is a small implant inserted into the tear ducts to treat dry eyes by keeping your eyes moist. Punctal plugs are inserted using a procedure known as punctal occlusion surgery, which can be a temporary or long-term remedy to help to relieve the symptoms of chronic dry, itchy, or burning eyes.
What are the different types of punctum plugs?
Depending on your needs, our ophthalmologist may recommend one of the following types:
- Temporary (dissolvable) plugs made of collagen that are eventually absorbed by the body after a few weeks or months. Our doctor may recommend them initially to see if they may help and how the patient responds before deciding on a more permanent solution.
- Semi-permanent plugs made of long-lasting materials like silicone or acrylic. These plugs can be used to reduce the symptoms of dry eyes for a long time and can last for years.
Am I a suitable candidate for punctal occlusion surgery?
Punctal plugs help keep your eyes moisturized and relieve dry eye problems. Inserting punctal plugs is recommended for patients who have a chronic dry eye problem and don’t respond to standard dry eye treatments and for patients who have had laser refractive surgery such as LASIK.
What to expect before punctum plug implantation?
During your consultation, our ophthalmologist will review your medical history and examine your eyes to check for symptoms of dryness and measure your tear flow and their quality and prescribe artificial tears or drops.
If your eyes don’t respond to eye drops, our doctor may suggest punctal plugs; these plugs come in various sizes, and the doctor will take measurements of your tear duct aperture to use the right size and shape for your eyes. Only a close-up examination is required to determine the size and type of plug you need.
What happens during the procedure?
Punctum plug implantation usually takes only a few minutes and can be performed with or without a local anesthetic.
Our ophthalmologist will numb your tear duct and then use a specific device such as forceps-like inserters or syringe-style inserters to insert the plug. If the duct is too narrow, they may need to use a lacrimal dilator to widen it enough for the plug to fit. There may be some discomfort at first but you should not feel the punctual plug once it is in place.
What to expect after the procedure?
You should be able to drive yourself home and resume normal activities following the treatment. You will experience an improvement in your dry eye symptoms within the first few days. An allergic reaction to the plug is the most prevalent side effect, in which case the implant can be easily removed or flushed out.
Punctal plugs, whether temporary or dissolvable, can last from a few days to several months. Temporary punctal plugs will dissolve on their own and do not need to be removed. However, your dry eye problem could reoccur; if this happens and the plugs aren’t helpful, the permanent option might be a better choice.
Schedule your appointment at Novomed today!
If you have eye dryness that persists despite the use of eye drops, make an appointment with our highly experienced ophthalmologist to learn more about punctal plugs and their benefits.
Book your consultation today by calling toll-free 8006686, filling out the booking form, or clicking the live chat icon at the bottom of the screen.