People have dry eyes because their eyes do not make sufficient tears, or their tears evaporate too quickly. Both situations leave a person with an insufficent tear layer covering the eye and result in dry eyes.
Dry eyes usually cause discomfort by the way of burning, itching, a grit in the eye sensation, or even blurry vision.
Tears that do not evaporate leave the eye via a tube that connects the eyelids to the nose. If you evert your eyelid, you will see a black dot on the inner surface near the nose. This is the opening into the tube connecting the eyelid to the nose and where tears leaving the eye go.
Plugging this opening may stop the tears from leaving your eye, thereby keeping the eye more lubricated and alievating eye discomfort. An eye specialist can plug this opening with absorbable or non-absorbable punctal plugs.
The absorbable plugs are intended to be temporary lasting from a few days to six (6) months. The time before the absorable plugs dissolve, usually allows sufficient time for the patient to notice a benefit and opt for the long-term non-absorbable plugs.
Non-absorbable plugs are used for long-term occlusion. They are most commonly made of silicone or a hydrophilic acrylic.
Both absorbable and non-absorbable plugs can be placed in a sterile, office-setting in less than a minute without any discomfort. Both types of punctal plugs are less than one (1) cm and are not visible to an observer.
Punctal plugs placed by an experienced eye specialist are extremely safe and can be removed for whatever reason in a few seconds in the office. The plugs are a nice addition to the treatment regime, provide many benefits to the patient and are usually covered by insurance.
Dr. Latkany performs all punctal plug placements.