In some instances, occlusion (blocking) of the a small opening in the corner of the eye lid can improve comfort and corneal health in dry eye related complications. Punctal occlusion has been a treatment option for decades. At some points in the past, surgeons would suture, cauterize or surgically close the punctum so that tears would remain on the eye longer.
HERE’S HOW THEY WORK:
The idea behind punctal plugs is simple. Tiny, dissolvable or non-dissolvable plugs are inserted into your tear drainage ducts (puncta is the opening to the drainage canal) where they act as a dam. Whatever tears you do have now have no other direction go except to stay onto the surface of your eyes enhancing your lubrication. By blocking these drains, more natural infection-fighting tears bathe and soothe the eye, which may either lower your need to use eye drops, or eliminate the need for eye drops altogether.
Punctal Plugs can also reduce or eliminate the major cause of contact lens discomfort.
NATURAL INFECTION FIGHTERS: Eye drops and artificial tears in general temporarily soothe the symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome. Unfortunately, these solutions can actually wash away the natural infection-fighting tear film on the eye, taking away some of your natural infection-fighting ability. Also, most artificial tears contain preservatives which can disrupt the mucous layer required to hold your natural tears in place on the eye. Believe it or not, this can sometimes lead to worsening your dry eye syndrome symptoms. Punctal Plugs are a great option when trying to keep the eyes natural infection fighting ability as strong as possible.