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Punctal Occlusion (Punctal Cautery)

Dry eyes aren’t just painful; they can permanently damage parts of your eyes. Yet it’s a fairly common condition in the US. Instead of dousing your eyes with over-the-counter eye drops multiple times during your day, consider a more permanent solution. When you visit the modern ophthalmology offices of Vitreous Retina Macula Consultants of New York, you get access to some of the most successful, most well-known ophthalmologists in the country. They have a variety of procedures to counter dry eye, including punctal occlusion or punctal cautery. For the best results, trust the acknowledged experts. Call VRMNY for an appointment today to find out if tear duct plugs can stop your dry eyes.

What Is Punctal Occlusion?

Punctal occlusion, also called punctal cautery, is an eye procedure to correct dry eye syndrome. During the procedure, your eye doctor plugs your tear ducts with tiny biocompatible devices. The plugs placed in each punctum or tear duct blocks your tears from draining away. The blockage increases the amount of tears that lubricate your eye.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Your doctor places these tear duct plugs to determine if they improve your dry eye problem. The plugs come in different shapes, including umbrella, hollow, slanted, tapered and reservoir. Before the procedure, your ophthalmologist measures the size and shape of your tear ducts. Only a highly trained, experienced eye specialist can effectively use the specialized equipment involved in this eye procedure.

If you have a dry eye diagnosis, which is the first step toward effective treatment, visit the retina specialists and ophthalmologists at Vitreous Retina Macula Consultants of New York (VRMNY). These eye specialists offer their advanced skills and medical equipment to you for in-office procedures, such as punctal occlusion, laser surgeries and other surgical procedures.

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Dr. Spades is a truly passionate and understanding individual, and not only it can be seen inside his place of work, but also outside as well. He would go to extreme lengths to provide the most efficient forms of treatment for his patients - he did for me regarding my condition - and his bright charm and attitude is something that can really make one’s day.

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What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye disease is a condition in which your eyes don’t produce enough lubrication. For some people, the amount of tears they make is inadequate. In others, the tears themselves are of poor quality. Five to 15 percent of the population suffers from dry eye diseases. Causes range from certain medications, skin diseases around the eyes, pregnancy and other conditions, such as meibomian gland dysfunction. Symptoms of dry eye include:

  • Eye redness
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye fatigue
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Inability to wear contact lenses
  • A scratchy, burning sensation in your eyes
  • Watery eyes caused by your reaction to the eye irritation that dry eyes cause

If not treated in a timely manner, dry eye disease can lead to eye pain, scarring of your cornea and even loss of vision. Meanwhile, the symptoms lower your quality of life because of the vision impairment. If you’re suffering, you require attention from an ophthalmologist. After diagnosing dry eye syndrome, your doctor considers a range of possible treatments, including punctal occlusion.

Dry Eye Syndrome

What Types of Tear Duct Plugs Are Available?

Your eye doctor can choose from a variety of punctal plugs for the punctal occlusion procedure. When you consult a top eye specialist for your dry eye problem, the ophthalmologist conducts tests to determine the extent of your condition. With a diagnosis in hand, your doctor chooses from a variety of plugs including:

  • Collagen tear duct plugs. These are punctal plugs that dissolve within a week. The body absorbs the collagen naturally. These punctal plugs also keep your eye moist after a procedure like LASIK eye surgery to correct a refractive error.
  • Silicone tear duct plugs. These are semi-permanent tear duct plugs. Your eye doctor has to remove the plugs in another procedure.
  • Thermal cautery. Your doctor may choose to block your tear ducts permanently through a procedure called thermal cautery. This procedure uses heat from a specialized device.

The VRMNY eye doctors are in the front lines of medical research. They’ve been published widely in major journals on topics relating to eye conditions and diseases. By consulting these top eye doctors, you get the latest knowledge, the state-of-the-art equipment and the most recent techniques. In some cases, these doctors have invented new procedures that now bear their names.

What Are the Benefits of Tear Duct Plugs?

Once you get treated for dry eyes, you experience less stress and less painful eyes. Your eye doctor performs punctal cautery because it offers multiple benefits when treating dry eyes. The main advantages of plugs for dry eyes include:

  • Helping retain tears to keep your eye moist and healthy
  • Reducing the symptoms of dry eye
  • Preventing escalation of eye problems, such as corneal scarring
  • Complementing other eye treatments by keeping the eye moist after surgery
  • Providing temporary relief, in the case of dissolvable eye plugs
  • Enhancing your quality of life by reducing your eye discomfort and improving your vision

After your eye examination, your eye doctor creates a personalized eye treatment plan. If your eyes have inadequate lubrication, punctal occlusion may be the recommended treatment.

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What’s Involved in the Procedure for Tear Duct Plugs?

This is an outpatient procedure performed at your eye doctor’s office. It takes only minutes to complete. After reaching a diagnosis, your doctor discusses the effectiveness of a tear duct plug. At this point, you can discuss your options and ask questions to understand why a punctal occlusion may be the best solution. The main steps in the procedure involve:

  • Preparation. Your eye doctor measures the size and shape of your tear ducts. The dimensions determine the best type and size of tear duct plugs to use. The doctor may also give you some local, topical anesthetic to ease any discomfort during the procedure.
  • Punctal occlusion. For the insertion of the tear duct plugs, your doctor may first enlarge each punctum. Next, your ophthalmologist inserts the tear duct plugs to block the tears’ drainage channel.
  • You can go home immediately and return to normal activities.

After the insertion of tear duct plugs, you might experience some excessive tearing. Consult your doctor if you notice any pain or secretions from your eyes. VRMNY has offices in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Westchester. Contact the a top eye specialists at the closest office for a fast, efficient diagnosis and effective treatment.

Updated on May 17, 2022 by Ophthalmologists & Retina Specialists of Vitreous Retina Macula Consultants of New York

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