University Eye Clinic optometrists offer a full range of options to help alleviate your dry eye symptoms. Typically, mild dry eye can be treated with artificial lubricant drops or gels. Moderate to severe dryness, however, can be much more difficult to manage and often requires alternative methods of treatment.
There is a simple non-surgical procedure that provides long-term relief of dry eyes, which involves the use of permanent, yet removable plugs called punctal plugs.
There are a number of reasons why punctal plugs have become the most popular method of treating moderate to severe dry eye. They have a very high rate of success, and the optometrist can insert them easily and painlessly. They are also reversible if too much tearing is produced.
The idea behind punctal plugs is simple. Tiny, dissolvable or non-dissolvable plugs are inserted into your tear drainage ducts (puncta) where they act as a dam. Therefore, your precious tears have no other place go except onto the surface of your eyes. By blocking the tear drains, more natural infection-fighting tears bathe and soothe the eye, which may eliminate the need for eye drops altogether. Punctal Plugs can also reduce or eliminate the major cause of contact lens discomfort.
Eye drops and artificial tears in general temporarily soothe the symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome. Sometimes, these solutions can actually wash away the natural infection-fighting tear film on the eye. Also, most artificial tears contain preservatives which can disrupt the mucous layer required to hold your natural tears in place on the eye.
Please view our dry eye section for more information on dry eyes, as well as our download centre for information on plug pricing and risks.