Punctal plugs are microscopic objects inserted into the tear ducts of the eyes (called puncta). Puncta are the tiny apertures in your eyes where tears are released. The blockage, which is about the size of a rice grain, prevents fluid from draining from the eye. This relieves itchy, burning, and red eyes by keeping the eye’s surface pleasant and moist.

Lacrimal plugs, punctum plugs, and occluders are other names for punctal plugs. Typically, they are implanted in either the upper or lower puncta of the eyelids, or in both. In a deeper section of the tear duct, a different kind of plug is inserted (the canaliculus).

there are 2 types of punctal plugs. Temporary/dissolving plug and semi-permanent plug.

Temporary/dissolving plugs are made of a substance that progressively breaks and is absorbed by the body, like collagen. These plugs may stay in the eye for a short while or for several months. After having refractive surgery, such as LASIK, temporary plugs are frequently used to maintain the eye moist. Additionally, They are also used when you want to try out punctal plugs to see if they help relieve your dry eye.

Semi-permanent plugs are made of a longer-lasting medical plastic (such as silicone or acrylic). These plugs are made to remain in the eye permanently. If necessary, your ophthalmologist can remove them.

The canaliculus, a deeper area of the tear duct, receives another kind of semi-permanent punctal plug. These plugs are completely invisible to the eye.

To choose the appropriate plug type and size for your requirements, your eye doctor will first examine your eye.

Your tear ducts may be anesthetized by your doctor. You might not always need to have your eyes numbed. The punctal plug may cause some pressure as it is inserted into your eyelid.

You can often resume your regular activities as soon as the plugs are in place.

Punctal plugs may come with risks and adverse consequences, just like other treatments or operations.

The most frequent adverse effect is a scratchy or annoying sensation in the corner of your eye. Many people discover that this feeling passes or simply become accustomed to it.

Punctal plugs may cause your eyes to get too wet from watering too much. Your plugs may need to be taken out, or they may be replaced with a different type for better tear control.

Moreover, when you rub your eyes, plugs may shift or come out of the eye. Inadequately fitted plugs may protrude from the tear duct and rub against your eye or eyelid.

Punctal plugs may occasionally aggravate the tear ducts. The tear duct may get inflamed and turn red as a result of the obstructions. The tear ducts may become scarred or harmed by ongoing inflammation.

Though uncommon, certain types of eye infections can happen. Antibiotics may be required to treat some infections. The plugs may need to be taken out by your eye doctor.

Punctal plugs are generally thought to be trouble-free by users. However, adverse effects are possible. Inform your eye doctor as soon as possible if you experience any eye pain or scratchiness or suspect an infection. They might decide to take the plugs out.

Depending on the type, there are many ways to remove the plugs. Your eye doctor will use forceps to carefully remove silicon plugs from the tear duct. These clogs can also be taken out by rinsing them with a salt water solution. With this technique, the tear duct plugs are forced into the nose or throat.

Surgery is used to remove plugs that are located further into the tear duct (in the canaliculus).

At The Eye Center- Dr. Mahnaz Naveed Shah & Associates our team of eight ophthalmology subspecialists/ eye specialists, eye surgeons who are considered amongst the very best eye specialists in Karachi and in Pakistan, have the diagnostic and treatment capabilities to treat from the simplest to the most complex patients. We work hard to provide our patients with the best possible medical and surgical eye care, in a state of the art purpose built eye care facility. We offer the entire array of medical, laser and surgical treatments to help provide patients the best possible care in the most efficient, safe and ethical manner.

If you need an appointment, please contact us at 03041119544 during our working hours or leave us a WhatsApp message at +923028291799 and someone will connect with you. Walk-in appointments are also available for emergencies. We can also be reached through our web portal on www.surgicaleyecenter.org

Image Credits AAO.org

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