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Plugs for Dry Eyes

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What are Plugs for Dry Eyes?

Temporary or permanent silicone plugs in the tear ducts keep tears in your eye from draining away as quickly. The plugs can be inserted painlessly in the office and cannot be felt once inserted. Oral supplements and other oral medications are also available.

At Wang Vision Institute, we routinely manage dry eye syndrome, from mild cases to the most severe, by tailoring the treatment to everyone’s cause of dry eye signs and symptoms.

What are the Benefits of Plugs for Dry Eyes?

Silicone plugs work by trapping tears inside the eye to prevent them from draining away too quickly. Our professionals at Wang Vision Institute have the skills and experience necessary to relieve common symptoms of dry eye so you can feel more comfortable in your day-to-day life. Benefits of plugs include:

  • Increased tear retention
  • Reduced dryness, discomfort, and redness in the eyes
  • Relief from symptoms of chronic dry eye syndrome
  • Maintained visual acuity
  • Less reliance on artificial tears and other treatments

Should I Get Plugs for Dry Eyes?

Candidates for plugs for dry eyes often referred to as punctal plugs, typically include individuals who suffer from moderate to severe dry eye syndrome and haven't responded well to more conservative treatments, such as artificial tears or prescription eye drops. It's important to have a thorough examination by an eye care professional to determine if punctal plugs are suitable for your specific situation. The evaluation at Wang Vision Institute typically involves assessing your symptoms, the severity of your dry eye condition, and considering any underlying causes or contributing factors. Some specific individuals in the Nashville, TN area who may be considered candidates for this treatment are:

  • People with chronic dry eye conditions
  • Patients with Sjögren's Syndrome
  • Contact lens wearers
  • Individuals not responding to other treatments
  • Patients who cannot tolerate prescription eye drops
  • Post-LASIK surgery patients
  • Individuals with evaporative dry eye

How Do Plugs for Dry Eyes Work?

Plugs for dry eyes are small medical devices used to treat dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly, leading to irritation, inflammation, and blurred vision. Punctal plugs help by blocking the tear ducts (puncta), which are small openings located at the inner corners of the upper and lower eyelids. This blockage prevents tears from draining away from the eye surface too quickly, thus helping to keep the eyes better lubricated. To determine the appropriate size of the plug needed, our team will examine your eyes and assess the tear ducts. The implantation of punctal plugs is a minimally invasive procedure and may cause a little discomfort. Topical anesthetic drops may be applied to the eye to numb the area and make the process more comfortable.

The doctor uses a specialized instrument to gently insert the punctal plug into the tear duct. Temporary or dissolvable plugs, made of materials like collagen, are often used for temporary relief, such as post-laser eye surgery or to evaluate how well permanent plugs might work. Semi-permanent or permanent plugs, made of silicone or other non-dissolvable materials, are intended to remain in the tear ducts indefinitely or until they are removed by a healthcare provider. Follow-up visits will be scheduled to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment and make any necessary adjustments. Patients are usually able to return to their normal activities immediately after the procedure.

What To Expect After Plugs For Dry Eyes

After getting plugs for dry eyes at Wang Vision Institute, you can expect immediate relief from dryness, discomfort, and redness. The procedure is painless and quick, allowing you to return to normal activities right away. While the plugs work to keep your eyes moisturized by preventing tears from draining too quickly, you may still use artificial tears if needed. Follow-up visits ensure the plugs are working effectively and allow for any necessary adjustments to your treatment.

Plugs for Dry Eyes FAQs

What causes dry eyes?

Dry eyes can be caused by a number of factors, including age, environment, medications, and medical conditions. Even too much wind or air conditioning can reduce moisture on the surface of the eye. Dr. Wang has experience treating a wide variety of dry eye cases and may recommend plugs to help alleviate unwanted symptoms.

So silicone plugs hurt?

No, the insertion process of silicone plugs into the tear ducts is painless, and once inserted, they are not felt. Wang Vision Institute uses the latest tools and technologies to ensure the process is comfortable. Patients with concerns about pain are welcome to discuss their treatment plan with our staff prior to undergoing any procedure.

What other treatments are available for dry eye?

In addition to silicone plugs, some patients benefit from medications or other treatments as needed. Our eye clinic in Nashville may even recommend lifestyle modifications such as protecting your eyes from UV rays and reducing screen time. Our goal is to provide long-lasting relief with personalized, comprehensive care.

*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.