Say Goodbye to Dry Eyes with Punctal Plugs


Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when tears are unable to provide adequate lubrication for the eyes, leading to symptoms such as redness, irritation, burning, and pain. While there are various treatment options available for managing dry eyes, punctal plugs have emerged as a promising solution for many individuals.

What are Punctal Plugs?

Punctal plugs, also known as lacrimal plugs or tear duct plugs, are small, biocompatible devices that are inserted into the tear ducts (puncta) of the eyes. These plugs help to block the drainage of tears from the eyes, thereby increasing tear retention on the ocular surface and reducing dry eye symptoms. By increasing tear retention on the ocular surface, punctal plugs help to maintain adequate moisture levels in the eyes, reducing dryness, irritation, and discomfort.

Types of Punctal Plugs

There are two main types of punctal plugs: temporary and permanent. Temporary plugs are typically made of dissolvable materials such as collagen and are designed to provide short-term relief for dry eye symptoms. Permanent plugs, on the other hand, are made of materials like silicone and can remain in the tear ducts for an extended period, providing long-lasting relief.


Photo by Mikael Blomkvist

Benefits of Punctal Plugs

  • Effective symptom relief: Punctal plugs can provide significant relief from the symptoms of dry eye syndrome, including dryness, burning, itching, and redness.
  • Improved tear film stability: By increasing tear retention on the ocular surface, punctal plugs help to stabilize the tear film, reducing tear evaporation and maintaining proper lubrication of the eyes.
  • Enhanced comfort: Many individuals experience improved comfort and quality of life with punctal plugs, as they no longer have to deal with the constant discomfort of dry eyes.

Placement Procedure

The placement of punctal plugs is a quick and minimally invasive procedure that can be performed in a doctor’s office. After numbing the area with topical anesthesia, the plugs are gently inserted into the tear ducts. Some patients may initially experience temporary discomfort, but this usually subsides quickly.


Photo by Antoni Shkraba

Whether you opt for temporary or permanent plugs, the goal is to alleviate discomfort associated with dry eyes, so you can enjoy activities such as contact lens wear and VR gaming once again. If you’re experiencing persistent dry eye symptoms, consult with your eye care professional to see if punctal plugs may be the right treatment option for you.

Avatar of Ivan Yong

Ivan Yong

Dr. Ivan Yong is an optometrist with over 12 years of experience in the optical industry. He earned his doctorate from the Southern California College of Optometry and has practiced in multiple settings, including private practice, community health, and ophthalmology. Dr. Yong aims to expand access to affordable eyewear and improve eye health worldwide.