Insertion of punctal plugs: why is it done?
When someone is not producing enough tears, one solution is to insert transparent plugs into the tear ducts located in both eyelids, next to the nose. The purpose of the plugs is to keep tears on the surface of the eye, so as the eye stays hydrated, thus reducing the symptoms that accompany dry eye disease. As a rule, the ducts in the lower eyelids are plugged, although sometimes plugs are placed in both eyelids.
Many patients are concerned that the plugs may be visible from the outside, or that they may fall out of the eye. This will not happen!
The plugs are constructed in such a way that they expand when exposed to tears, so they tightly plug the tear duct and will not fall out. They are transparent and dissolve after three years.
Punctal plugs are used to treat advanced cases of dry eye disease.
Insertion of punctal plugs is a quick, safe and painless procedure. It is performed by an ophthalmologist, who uses a special disposable applicator. The patient is given local anesthesia (drops) before the procedure.