Dry eye syndrome is a very common condition that takes its name from the main symptom associated with it – dry eyes. People who suffer from dry eye syndrome usually find that their eyes either do not make enough natural tear film, or that the tear film that they have drains too quickly. This causes a range of unpleasant symptoms including redness, dry, stiff eyes, itchiness, excessive watering and blurred vision.
In many instances, patients will find that their dry eye syndrome appears as suddenly as the condition arrived. However, a percentage of people go on to suffer from chronic dry eyes that requires professional intervention. One of the treatments that our expert team might recommend for you is known as Punctual Plugs.
Punctual plugs are tiny, biocompatible devices that are placed into the tear ducts in the lower eyelids in order to block the drainage channels that normally enable tear film to escape from the surface of the eyes. By doing this, the amount of moisture on the surface of the eyes is significantly increased, and this can help to alleviate many of the symptoms associated with dry eye syndrome.
There are primarily two different types of punctual plug available. These are:
Semi-permanent punctual plugs. These are made from a long-lasting material such as silicone that doesn’t biodegrade and can last for months at a time before they require replacement.
Dissolvable punctual plugs. As their name suggests, these plugs are made from a material that is eventually broken down and absorbed by the body in a process that can last several months.
Before you can be fitted with punctual plugs, our specialist team will first need to determine what size of plug you need. To do this, we will use a special tool to measure the size of your tear duct openings. Once we are satisfied that we have correctly identified which punctual plugs are the most appropriate, you will be given a local anesthetic. This will ensure that you remain awake but are not in any discomfort while the plugs are being placed. In some cases, it may be necessary for us to use a special instrument to hold the tear duct open so that the punctual plugs can be placed.
The process is minimally invasive and aside from a little discomfort whilst you get used to the feeling of the plugs in your eyes, you should have no ill effects from the process. There is no downtime, so you can get straight back to your usual day to day activities. You should start to notice a reduction in the severity of your dry eye syndrome symptoms fairly quickly.
If you have been diagnosed with dry eye syndrome and would like more information about punctual plugs, we would be delighted to help. Contact our optometry offices in Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska today by calling 402-330-3000 today and let us help you find relief from your dry eyes.