Punctum Plugs

Anyone who suffers from dry eyes will know just how uncomfortable the condition can be. Symptoms such as burning, gritty, red eyes are common and vision can even be reduced in more severe cases.

The primary reason for dry eyes is either poor quality tears, or too few tears being produced.

There are multiple causes of dry eyes. These include:

  • Natural aging process
  • Menopause in women
  • Medications such as anti-histamines, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medications, Parkinson’s medications and contraceptive pills.
  • Smoking
  • Environmental factors such as living in dry, dusty climates, or working in an environment that is air-conditioned or artificially heated.
  • Inadequate blinking usually due to staring at a computer screen and tablets for long periods of time.
  • Systemic diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ocular rosacea or Sjogren’s syndrome.
  • Contact lens wear
  • Incomplete closure of the eyelid
  • Eyelid disease such as blepharitis and meibomian gland dysfunction
  • Lacrimal gland dysfunction

The use of lubricating drops and ointments play an important role in soothing dry eyes. However these do not cure the cause of dry eyes and even frequent use may not resolve the discomfort fully.

When there is a lack of tears, a longer-term solution could be punctual plugs.

Punctal plugs are inserted into the drainage channel (puncta) on the eyelid, preventing the escape of tears from the surface of the eye. At Cameron Optometry we use absorbable, extended duration punctal plugs. These plugs are composed of material like modern contact lenses that gradually dissolve in the drainage channels of the eye, and have duration of up to three months. Some causes of dry eyes are not permanent and one benefit of absorbable punctal plugs is that they need only be replaced as required.

If the temporary plugs are effective, you may, in consultation with the optometrist, wish to try a permanent punctal plug which stays in place indefinitely. This plug can be removed, if required, by flushing saline solution into the punctual opening, through the lacrimal system, and into the nose. We only recommend this type of plug for people who have successfully worn the dissolvable type first.

The insertion procedure is quick and comfortable and is performed in the practice. Once the plugs are fitted you are unable to feel them in your eye.

Punctal plugs are one of the many treatments covered by Vision+ membership from £25 per month.

For non-Vision+ members, prices start at £119 which includes the optometrists consultation and insertion of three-month absorbable plugs.

Please contact us at the practice if you wish to discuss your suitability for the procedure.


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5 St. Vincent Street, Edinburgh EH3 6SW
0131 225 2235