What are punctal plugs?
Punctal plugs are small biocompatible devices that we insert into the openings of the tear ducts (located in the inner corner of the upper and lower eyelids) to contain the drainage of tears and make them remain longer on the eye surface. Thus, we manage to improve the lubrication of the eye surface and maintain the necessary humidity to preserve the tissues and avoid the discomfort associated with dryness (irritation, red eye, itching, feeling of grit inside the eye …).
Punctal plugs are no larger than a grain of rice and can be made of silicone, if they are to remain in place for several years, or collagen, if what we want is for them to be reabsorbed after a certain time.
Eye diseases treated by punctal plugs
We use punctal plugs in cases of dry eye due to insufficient tear production, which makes the eye surface devoid of the tear film it should normally have on it. We usually opt for this treatment when the eye drops we prescribe to supplement natural tears are not enough to adequately lubricate the eye.
Insertion of the punctal plugs is a procedure we perform at the Miranza clinics, and it is completely painless, as we will apply a few drops of topical anaesthesia to avoid any discomfort. Using a special tweezer, we will insert these tiny plugs in the tear points of the upper and/or lower eyelid. Once they are in place, you can go home and resume your daily activities without the need for specific recovery measures. You just need to be careful not to rub your eyes vigorously, a habit that is inadvisable anyway, so that the plug remains correctly in place.
The most common side effect after inserting the punctal plugs is itching or eye irritation in the area, although this is usually a temporary symptom. If it persists, we recommend that you see a specialist to consider rearrangement or removal of the plug.
Other complications associated with punctal plugs may be: inflammation of the tear duct, watery eye, friction with the eye surface, if they protrude too much or move from the site or, very occasionally, infections. All these symptoms are reversible and treatable, since the plugs can be removed at any time, either with a tweezer like the one we use to implant them or by drainage with saline solution, in which case the plug comes out through the nose or throat.