When dry eyes cause you discomfort and annoyance, people most often turn to eye drops. But these are a temporary solution that can just help moisten your eyes at the moment and will need to be reapplied frequently. Luckily, there is a more permanent solution to chronic dry eye with punctal plugs-small devices that block premature drainage of your tear ducts. The ophthalmologists at New Vision Eye Center are able to help you find out if punctal plugs are right for your case of dry eyes.
Common Symptoms of Dry Eyes
- Constant itchy, dry eyes
- Burning eyes
- Eyes that tire quickly
- Blurry vision
- Recent eye surgery
What Are Punctal Plugs?
Punctal plugs are tiny biocompatible “plugs” that sit in the tear ducts of your eyes. Similar to a stopper in a sink, punctal plugs block the draining of fluid over the eyes, preventing them from drying out. In most cases, you and people you interact with, will never know the plugs are there! This solution has proven to be a more long-lasting and natural feeling than other dry eye treatments. There are two types of punctal plugs, semi-permanent and dissolvable, which are used depending upon your needs.
- Dissolvable punctal plugs are often used when patients are seeking dry eye treatment for the first time and our ophthalmologist wants to be sure the treatment will be successful. Typically made of collagen, they eventually dissolve into the body and you will need to return for follow-up care. If the plugs made a positive difference to your case of dry eyes, then semi-permanent plugs will be recommended.
- Semi-permanent punctal plugs are made of long-lasting material like silicone and can effectively prevent dry eyes for many years. Placed just into the tear duct, you can essentially forget they are even there as your eyes will stay moist and healthy. We recommend coming in for routine check-ups to ensure that they are in the correct position and your eyes are still healthy.
How Do Punctal Plugs Work?
The tiny material that makes up a punctal plug is gently inserted into the tear duct of your eye. Minor anesthetic might be used to help prevent any discomfort, but the entire process takes just minutes. With these punctal plugs in the tear ducts, the lubrication will not drain as quickly, keeping the eyes fresh and moist. For the majority of patients, they do not see or feel the plugs in their tear ducts and can go about daily routines as normal.
Are There Side Effects?
While rare, there are minimal side effects to having punctal plugs placed as a dry eye treatment. If side effects present themselves, your ophthalmologist can easily remove the punctal plug. Some side effects that patients may experience can include:
- Watery eyes from excessive tearing
- Allergic reaction
- Visible plugs
Prevent Dry Eyes
Our team at New Vision Eye Center can help you find out if punctal plugs are right for your case of dry eyes in Vero Beach, FL. Our team of eye doctors are all board certified and can help diagnose the cause of your dry eyes. If punctal plugs are right for you, we can help place them as soon as possible. Schedule a consultation today by calling us at 772-257-8700.