Punctal Plugs for Dry Eye – Everything you need to know

Length: 3 minutes read
Date added: 26/06/23
Author: Optical Team

Dry eyes can be a common and bothersome condition, affecting individuals of all ages. Factors such as environmental conditions, aging, and underlying health conditions can contribute to the discomfort and irritation caused by insufficient tear production. Punctal plugs may be the solution you’ve been looking for, if you’ve ever experienced chronic dry eyes or sought relief from persistent discomfort.

What are Punctal Plugs?

Punctal plugs,also known as tear duct plugs or lacrimal plugs, are tiny devices that are inserted into the puncta – the small openings located at the inner corners of your eyelids. By blocking these openings, punctal plugs help to retain natural tears on the ocular surface, preventing them from draining too quickly. This promotes prolonged lubrication and hydration of the eyes, relieving the symptoms of dry eyes and enhancing overall ocular comfort. 

Punctal plugs are not just for dry eye relief. They can be used to manage other eye conditions. They may be recommended for individuals with recurrent eye infections, contact lens-related discomfort, or certain corneal conditions that require increased tear retention. Punctal plugs are typically removable by your Optometrist, if needed. Meaning if your treatment plan changes or plugs are no longer necessary, they can be easily removed.

How are Punctal Plugs inserted?  

We follow a very simple 3-step process; from evaluating whether you are suitable, to insertion, followed by through aftercare and ongoing care. 

Stage 1: Evaluation 

Before proceeding with punctal plug insertion, your optometrist will evaluate your eyes and assess the severity of your dry eye symptoms. This includes examining tear production, tear film stability, and the overall health of your ocular surface. They will then determine if you are suitable for punctal plugs. 

If you are, based on your individual needs, your optometrist will determine the most suitable type and size of punctal plugs for you. Punctal plugs come in various materials, including silicone, collagen, and dissolvable options. 

Stage 2: Insertion 

The actual insertion of punctal plugs is a quick and virtually painless procedure. Your optometrist will gently clean the area around your eye to ensure proper hygiene. Then, using specialised tools, they will carefully insert the plug into the puncta—the small openings located at the inner corners of your eyelids. The plugs work by blocking the drainage of tears and are designed to fit snugly within the puncta.

Once the plugs are in place, you may experience a minor sensation or awareness of their presence initially. However, most individuals quickly adapt to the feeling, and the plugs become unnoticeable. It is important to tell your optometrist if you are experiencing any persistent discomfort. They will make any necessary adjustments to ensure optimal fit and comfort. 

Stage 3: Ongoing Care 

After the punctal plugs are inserted, your optometrist will provide you with instructions on how to care for your eyes and the plugs themselves. This may include proper hygiene practices, lubricating eye drops. They will advise when your next appointments will be. At these appointments, we will monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments. 


How effective are Punctal Plugs? 

The effectiveness of punctal plugs can vary from person to person. While many individuals experience significant relief from dry eye symptoms, it’s important to note that results may vary. Regular follow-up visits with your optometrist will help monitor your progress. We’ll make any necessary adjustments to ensure the best outcome for your eye health can also be made.  


Are Punctal Plugs for you? 

If you suffer from dry eye and feel like you would benefit from punctal plugs, please book an eye examination with our optometrist, Mrs Fazlin Jetha.

During this appointment, Fazlin will review your eye health. You can begin the discussion about whether or not you are suitable for punctal plugs. 


Punctal Plug FAQs

If you’re interested in punctal plugs but have some unanswered questions, take a look at our most frequently asked questions here. 


Book your eye examination online.


Contact Us London independent opticians Whitby & Co Fleet Street Whitby & co optical eye care eye tests

0207 353 4455 ^

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