Punctal Plugs Albuquerque Lasik Surgery

People with dry eyes know how painful and irritating the condition can be. Even worse, it can damage your eyes and create bigger problems over time.

At Southwest Eyecare, our experienced doctors have multiple tools we can use to get your eyes the moisture they need so that they can be comfortable and healthy again. One of those options is punctal plugs. Many patients find that this tiny device can restore a healthy amount of tears so that the eyes can heal. Here are the facts you should know about punctal plugs.

What Are Punctal Plugs?

Punctal plugs are a type of dry eye treatment. Intended to keep the surface of the eye moisturized for a longer period of time, punctal plugs relieve dry, irritated eyes and restore comfort. Puncta are openings in the eye that drain tears. Through a minimally-invasive procedure, our doctors plug these drains using tiny devices which can be temporary and dissolve over time or semi-permanent and removed later. If you suffer from dry eye and have found little to no relief with artificial tear drops, reach out to our team to see if punctal plugs may be right for you. Learn more with SouthWest Eye Care

Temporary or Dissolving Plugs

One way to perform this procedure is by using plugs designed to dissolve harmlessly over time. These are generally made of collagen and stay in place for about three to six months. They tend to cause very little irritation and are less likely to lead to infection. You can't see them once they are in place because they are put in the puncta.

However, they do need to be replaced regularly to continue getting the benefits.

Semi-Permanent Plugs

Another option is acrylic or silicone plugs that are made to sit snugly on top of the puncta. They're designed to stay in place permanently, but they can be removed if needed, such as if you develop an infection.

It is possible to accidentally dislodge them if you rub your eyes. They can also fall into the duct, and they may require surgical removal if this happens.

How Are Punctal Plugs Inserted?

Although these plugs are tiny and must be precisely placed, the procedure is simple and quick. The doctor will probably give you numbing eye drops to ensure you are comfortable. Then, using a microscope, they will gently open the puncta with a tiny dilator. Next, the plugs are settled in place.

It may take longer to insert temporary punctal plugs because they're placed inside the duct. Regardless, the entire procedure is usually finished in only 10 minutes. You may experience some mild discomfort in the area on the first day. But once that passes, you shouldn't even notice them.

When Should Punctal Plugs Be Removed? And How?

If a patient experiences persistent irritation, they may need to have the tear duct plugs removed. They will also need to come out if you get an eye infection until it heals.

Removal is simple. Using a small pair of forceps, your doctor can gently tug them out. Another option, especially for dissolvable plugs, is to flush them out with water.

What Are The Risks? Side Effects? Benefits?

No procedure is completely without risk, but punctal tear duct plugs have been shown to be very safe. Some people experience irritation or the sensation of something in their eyelids when the plugs are inserted. This discomfort generally goes away within about a day, but if it doesn't, repositioning the plug can resolve the problem.

There is also a small risk of infection, which can usually be resolved by removing the plug and treating it with antibiotics. The plugs can also do their job too well, making your eyes watery. If they get dislodged and move around, they can poke out of the duct, irritating your eyes or eyelid.

The benefits, however, are obvious. Tear duct plugs are typically very successful in treating dry eyes. They not only relieve the itching, burning, and irritation of dry eyes but also use the eye's natural tears instead of replacing them artificially. Bathing the eyes in these natural moisturizing agents helps them heal from the damage of chronic dryness.

Are Punctal Plugs Right For You? Find out at Southwest Eyecare

If punctal plugs are the solution you have been trying to find for your dry eyes, contact us at Southwest Eyecare today. Our experienced ophthalmologists will give you all the information you need to protect the health of your eyes today and in the future.

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7110 Wyoming Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM
Phone: (505) 346-0500
Fax: (505) 346-0164

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