Punctal Plugs are tiny, biocompatible devices inserted into the tear ducts to block tear drainage. This increases the eyes tear film and surface moisture to relieve dry eyes.
Also known as punctum plugs, lacrimal plugs or occluders, these devices are often no larger than a grain of rice.
Punctal plugs are usually considered when eye drops fail to relieve your dry eye condition.
HOW ARE PUNCTAL PLUGS INSERTED IN TER DUCTS?
Depending on the type of punctal plug selected, your ophthalmologist will first determine the size of your tear duct opening. This helps determine the correct size of the punctal plugs required to block drainage within the channel and keep it securely in place. Inserting the plugs takes just a few minutes.
To prepare you for the procedure, some ophthalmologists use a local anaesthetic before inserting the punctal plug. In many cases, no anaesthetic is needed.
Each eyelid has one punctum, located at its inner margin near the nose. Punctal plugs can be inserted in the puncta of the lower lids, upper lids or both. An instrument may be used to dilate the tear ducts opening for easier insertion.
Many punctal plugs are pre-packaged with disposable devices that help your ophthalmologist insert the plug.
Other that slight initial discomfort, you should not feel the punctal plug once it is in place. Immediately after the procedure you should be able to drive and resume normal activities.
PUNCTAL PLUGS SIDE EFFECTS?
Usually punctal plug insertion is uneventful and rarely involves serious side effects or problems.
Excessive tearing (Epiphora) and watery eyes can occur when the punctal plug does its job too well. In this case, you may need to have the plugs removed or replaced with a different type of plug to better control the amount of tears in your eye.
Displacement or loss of the plug is uncommon but can occur for many reasons, such as when people rub their eyes and accidentally dislodge the device. You will need to visit your ophthalmologist for a replacement plug.
Eye infections may occur, though rarely, in association with the device. In these cases, you may need treatment with topical antibiotics, oral antibiotics and/or removal of the punctal plug.