Tear duct plugs for dry eyes

  1. Hi everyone!

    Has anyone here had tear duct plugs for dry eyes?

    I went for an eye exam last month and my doctor said that my corneas were scratched, likely from constant contact wearing and dry eyes. So, for the last three weeks, I've been wearing glasses everyday, using special ointment (day/night) and drops.

    I had a follow-up last night, and he said that my eyes were better, but still dry. He wanted me to come back in another month and if it stays the same, he would like to give me tear duct plugs.

    I've never had any sort of surgery (even minor) so I'm a little freaked out, even though I know it's supposed to be a pretty simple procedure, taking a few minutes.

    I was wondering if anyone here has had them and what the experience was like. Thanks!
  2. My mom has had plugs in her tear ducts for over a year now. She has SEVERE dry eye due to what we think was a combination of her Epstein-Barre & getting bit by a tick with a low reading of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (like Lymes). Needless to say, she's been to aLOT of doctors because it's hard to pin-point what is causing the dry eye and if it will ever get better. Most likely, the nerve endings and whatever causes your eyes to produce liquid is basically damaged permanently. She receives injections similar to Botox to prevent eye spasms, uses every know possible eye drop & vitamin, & yes, has plugs.

    Now to get to your REAL question, lol - she currently has plugs in her eyes and they don't help her very much because she doesn't produce enough liquid in her eyes for the ducts to contain it in her eyes to begin with. However, if your eyes produce enough liquid that it will remain in your eyes with the ducts, it would be very helpful. She has not complained about the procedure hurting once. The first time she got them, she said it felt like they were poking her. Sometimes they even fell out! She discovered that the size of the plug was the issue - you have to make sure the doctor does not put plugs in that are too big for the ducts because you will feel a slight poking (but not painful) sensation, & if they are not the right size (too big or too small), they may fall out.

    So overall - no pain, minor issues, helpful if your case is not too severe, & make sure they are the right size. Also, ask him if he thinks you should try eye drops rather than getting the plugs. I know Restastis (spelling?) is supposed to stimulate liquid production in the eyes but can reeeally hurt for the first several weeks/even months that you take it. Maybe another alternative, perhaps a less strong eye drop would do the trick rather than the plugs?

    I really hope this helps & that your eyes begin to feel better. Contacts can serious be a beeyotch to your eyes, it's terrible. I worry about that since I've heard/read alot about dry eye bc of my mom. Good luck with EVERYTHING! :smile: eyes are really a delicate thing, which many people do not realize until something happens to them. It's been so hard seeing my mom go through what she is right now, & I really hope that you can find something, whether drops, the plugs, or your eyes healing over time that will make you feel 100% better!! Take care!!
  3. I have punctal plugs in my lower tear ducts and I can't tell you what a difference it makes! I had them inserted 3-4 years ago. I have severly dry eyes and a condition called Giant Papillary Conjunctivits (GPC). GPC causes little hard bumps to form under your eyelids. In my case, the bumps were caused by my allergies. They were almost grabbing my contacts when I blinked and my contacts were scratching my corneas. In addition, my eyes would dry out and feel like sand every afternoon and I would have to take my contacts out as soon as I got home from work.

    Since having the punctal plugs inserted the GPC is almost gone and I have no scratching on my corneas. Plus, I can wear my contacts from morning until bedtime and I never have any dryness.

    Interestingly, one of my coworkers had them inserted the same week I did and hers have since fallen out. She had the old "plug" type that remind me of a sink stopper. Mine do not have a cap and were fully inserted into the duct and can potentially last my lifetime. My doc put some numbing drops in my eyes and I never felt the plugs being inserted. I found this information about the kind of plugs I have in case you are interested:

    This punctal plug (marketed as SmartPLUG[​IMG] punctal plug by Medennium, Inc.) is made of a thermosensitive, hydrophobic acrylic polymer that changes from a rigid solid to a soft, cohesive gel when its temperature changes from room temperature to body temperature. Outside the punctum, at room temperature, the SmartPlug is a rigid rod. Forceps are used to insert the SmartPlug into the punctum. As the material inside the punctum rapidly warms, it shortens and expands in diameter, turning from a rigid rod into a gel-like plug, conforming to the size and shape of the punctum. Removal, if necessary, is accomplished with irrigation. Once inserted, no part of the SmartPLUG protrudes on the lid surface, therefore the potential to irritate or scratch the cornea may be less than the silicone plugs (which have a protruding cap).
  4. I had the plug inserted into my lower ducts like Mokoni a little over a week ago. Interesting to read the different causes from other posters. Mine is due to Sjogren's syndrome which is an autoimmune attack on the mucus membranes in my body. Like the previous poster's mother. I didn't get much relief as I have severe dry eye and zero tear production so the plugs only hold in the eye drops that I apply. My eye sight blurs over by evening and I have to keep adding more eye drops. The next visit my opthamologist may add upper plugs or put me on the Restasis. I also take oral tetracycline antibiotics.
    There was no pain at all on insertion of the plugs and I can't feel them at all. I would definitely give them a try.
  5. Thanks for the responses. It's definitely more reassuring to hear some personal experiences. I'll let everyone know how it goes next month.