PUNCTAL OCCLUSION - WHAT IS IT? This where absorbable Intracanalicular Implants, which are microscopic plugs or implants that reduce tear flow out through the lacrimal ducts, and so retain more tears on the ocular surface, are placed in the tear ducts. The tear ducts drain tears from the eye down into the nasal pages and the back of the throat.
WHY ARE THEY USED? For dry eye patients who have difficulties producing enough tears, known as aqueous deficient dry eye, they can be particularly helpful.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS? One of the pathways for tear loss is reduced, retaining more moisture on the eyes surface. It may mean less frequent application of drops during the day and more eye comfort on waking.
I, and some of my colleagues, may use absorbable Intracanicular Implants for patients, avoiding potential plug loss and discomfort, these absorb over a period of time, sometimes up to six months, rather like absorbable sutures. Implantation is painless and they are not visible to the naked eye.
The relatively simple procedure of punctal occlusion has been shown to reduce signs and symptoms of both dry eye1 and contact lens discomfort2. In appropriate patients it is quick, straightforward and pain free both during the procedure and afterwards. In such patients the need for dry eye drops was also significantly reduced. Email
Sources: 1. Effects of Punctal Occlusion on Clinical Signs and Symptoms and on Tear Cytokine Levels in Patients with Dry Eye. Louis Tong MBBS FRCS DM PhD et al. The Ocular Surface, issue 2, April 2016. Pages 223-241. 2. Poster presentation following clinical trial of treating Contact Lens Discomfort with Punctal Occlusion. Andrew D Price FBDO(Hons)CL MBCLA. British Contact Lens Association Clinical Conference, Liverpool, May 2017