More Tears for Dry Eye Sufferers
If you suffer from the irritation and blurred vision of dry eye, you may have found that eye drops and other everyday remedies simply can't keep up with the dehydration that this syndrome causes. But that doesn't mean you have to live with itchy, reddened eyes and an ongoing risk of corneal problems. Here at Eye Gallery, our skilled optometry team can fit your tear ducts with special devices called punctum plugs to help keep moisture where it belongs -- on your eyes.
When Dry Eye Requires Extra Measures
Dry eye occurs when you cannot maintain a normal tear film. This problem may occur due to age-related reduction in tear flow, medications or diseases that promote dryness, windy environments or long, uninterrupted sessions starting at a computer screen. Most cases of dry eye can be resolved fairly easily through remedies such as artificial tears, gel-like eye drops for overnight hydration and lubrication, medication adjustments, underlying disease treatment or lifestyle changes. Occasionally, however, a stubborn case of dry eye will fail to respond to these measures. This is bad news for your eyes, since chronic dry eye can leave the corneas vulnerable to infection, injury and eventual scarring. That's when it may be time to turn to another method -- punctum plugs.
Punctum plugs (also referred to as punctal plugs) are so named because of the tiny drainage holes they're designed to block. You have one such hole, or punctum, for the upper eyelid and other for the lower eyelid, each leading to an internal canal. Excess tears exit the eye through system -- but since dry eye sufferers have no tears to spare, blocking these holes can prove invaluable for helping all available eye moisture (including aids such as artificial tears) stay on the eye.
What to Expect From Punctum Plugs
Punctum plugs are capped plugs are only about the size of a grain of rice, and there are several variants of shape, size and design. These include:
- Low-profile caps for optimal comfort
- Umbrella caps for easy removal
- Hollow caps that take on the exact shape of the tear duct
- Reservoir caps that actually hold onto tears for maximum moisture retention
- Plugs that go all the way into the canals instead of simply covering the openings
Punctum plugs also come in both dissolvable and semi-permanent forms. The dissolvable plugs are a sensible means of giving this form of treatment "trial run" to see if you'll benefit from it. The plugs can often be inserted without local anesthesia, and any initial discomfort after they're inserted should pass quickly -- replaced by the vastly improved comfort you'll experience from having properly-hydrated eyes.
Plug Up Your Dry Eye Problem
If you're ready to conquer your dry eye problem once and for all, turn to the experts at Eye Gallery.