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Punctal Plugs

If you suffer from dry, burning, irritated or itchy eyes, you may have dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome is a condition where your eyes either don’t produce enough tears or produce low-quality tears that can’t keep your eyes adequately hydrated. Sometimes the meibomian glands, which produce the oily layer of your tears, found inside your eyelid don’t function properly or are blocked, causing your tears to dry out.

If your tear ducts are blocked, your eye doctor may suggest punctal plugs.

What Are Punctal Plugs?

Punctal plugs are small devices that are inserted into the tear ducts — the puncta — of the eyelids. Another type of plug is inserted into the tear duct, the canaliculus, at a deeper level.

Puncta are small openings in your eyes that drain tears. The plug, which is about the size of a grain of rice, prevents fluid from flowing from the eyes. This ensures that the maximum amount of tears remain on the eyes at all times, resulting in less itching, burning, and redness.

Two Types of Punctal Plugs

Temporary/dissolving plugs

Temporary/dissolving plugs are made of a material, such as collagen, that the body absorbs over time. These plugs can last anywhere from a few days to several months in the eye. After refractive surgery, such as LASIK, temporary plugs are frequently used to keep the eye moist. They can also be used to test out punctal plugs to see if they provide dry eye relief.

Semi-permanent plugs

Semi-permanent plugs are composed of medical plastic, such as silicone or acrylic, that lasts longer. These plugs are made to stay in the eye for years. Your eye doctor can remove them, if necessary.

Another sort of semi-permanent punctal plug is inserted in the canaliculus, which is a deeper section of the tear duct. Once in the eye, these plugs are completely invisible.

How Are Punctal Plugs Inserted?

Your eye doctor will first inspect your eye to determine the optimum type and size of plug for your eyes.

Anesthesia may be used to numb your tear ducts. However, in some cases, you may not need to have your eyes numbed. As the punctal plug is inserted into your eyelid, you may feel some pressure.

After the plugs are inserted, you should be able to resume your normal activities at once.

When and How are Punctal Plugs Removed?

How to remove the plugs and when will depend on which plugs are inserted.

To remove silicon plugs from the tear ducts, your eye doctor will use forceps to gently pull the plugs out. Another option for removing these plugs is to use a saltwater solution to flush them out. The plugs are forced out of the tear ducts and into the nose or throat during this procedure.

Surgery is usually required to remove plugs that are deeper in the tear duct (in the canaliculus).

For most people, punctal plugs don’t cause any problems. However, if you have any eye pain, itchiness, or fear you have an infection, contact your eye doctor right away. The eye doctor will examine your eyes and remove the plugs if necessary.

Are Punctal Plugs for You?

Consult your eye doctor if artificial tears or other eye drops have failed to relieve your dry eye symptoms. If blocked tear glands are the culprit, your doctor might advise you to try punctal plugs. For more information regarding punctal plugs contact Shelburne Primary EyeCare today!

Shelburne Primary EyeCare serves patients from Shelburne, Dundalk, Orangeville, and Mount Forest, Dufferin County and surrounding communities.

Request Appointment
Call 844-611-3222

Vitamins and Foods 1280

Vitamins and Foods That Relieve Dry Eye Syndrome

Approximately 16 million Americans have dry eye syndrome. Symptoms of dry eye—other than the obvious eye dryness—include grittiness, burning, irritation and difficulty reading or looking at a screen for long periods of time. Studies have shown that certain foods help the eyes stay properly hydrated.

Specific vitamins, fatty acids and trace elements are good not only for our overall health but also for our tear film.

Omega Fatty Acids For Dry Eye

Omega fatty acids are responsible for forming the stabilizing oil layer in the tear film. If this outer layer of the lubricating film is disrupted, it can lead to dry eye symptoms like burning, redness and itchiness. In addition, omega fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Foods high in omega fatty acids include:

  • Fish. cod, mackerel, salmon, trout
  • Meat. red meat, pork liver
  • Oils. canola oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil,
  • Other animal products. cheese, eggs

Vitamins for Dry Eye

Below is a list of vitamins that help with dry eye and boosts general eye health.

  • Vitamin A (retinol) helps protect the surface of the eye. Vitamin A deficiency, which usually occurs in developing countries, can cause an increase in dry eye. By adding foods rich in Vitamin A, like carrots, pumpkins, apricots, spinach, tomatoes, dairy products and liver, you can prevent the development of this condition.
  • Vitamin B2 protects your eyes from cell damage and is found in broccoli, avocados, dairy products and whole-grain products.
  • Vitamin B6 is needed for a healthy tear film. Foods such as kale, potatoes, goose, mackerel, salmon and sardines contain high doses of vitamin B6.
  • Vitamin B12 is also important for lubricating the eyes. It’s typically found in mackerel, beef liver, calf’s liver and pork liver. It is also found in dairy products and eggs, though in smaller amounts.
  • Vitamin C protects against oxidative stress and plays an important role in maintaining a functioning tear film. It can be found in peppers, broccoli, rosehip, acerola berries and brussels sprouts.
  • Vitamin E is necessary to protect your eyes against cell damage as well as dry eye. This vitamin is prominently found in sunflower oil, mackerel, wheat germ oil, peppers, spinach, mangos and redcurrants.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that help cells function correctly and stay healthy. They help prevent many chronic eye diseases, including dry eye syndrome. Foods rich in these antioxidants include leafy greens like romaine lettuce, kale and spinach. They are also available as supplements.

Zinc for Eye Health

Zinc plays an important role in keeping your eyes healthy. This mineral is responsible for getting vitamin A from your liver to your retina and produces melanin, a pigment that protects your eyes. Dairy, whole grains, nuts, sweetcorn, peas and lentils are all excellent sources of zinc.

Drink Water to Hydrate Your Eyes

Lastly, drink water. While it may seem obvious, many of us forget to drink enough water. Staying hydrated can help improve eye comfort and is vital for your kidneys and bowels and for radiant-looking skin.

Eating healthy and staying hydrated helps to ensure your eyes get the vitamins and minerals they need. So go ahead and protect your vision, improve your overall eye health and relieve your dry eye symptoms by adding these nutrients to your diet. However, remember to always consult your eye doctor before taking any supplements.

Contact Shelburne Primary EyeCare to learn more and to explore our effective and lasting treatments to relieve your dry eye disease so you can live your best life.

Shelburne Primary EyeCare serves patients from Shelburne, Dundalk, Orangeville and Mount Forest, all throughout Dufferin County.

Request Appointment
Call 844-611-3222

girl closing eyes

Hot Compress Eye Masks For Effective & Rapid Dry Eye Relief

If you are suffering from mild to moderate dry eye symptoms, such as itchy and gritty eyes, this low tech solution may be just what you need. Hot compress eye masks are easy to use and a natural way to treat blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), and specifically – chronic dry eye disease.

What Is Dry Eye Disease?

Dry eye disease (DES) is a condition where the eyes chronically feel dry, irritated, and uncomfortable. This is due to either insufficient or poor quality tears. Other symptoms include:

  • Watery eyes – the eyes may overproduce tears to compensate for the lack of lubrication
  • Red eyes
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Sore or achy eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and suspect you may have dry eye, speak with Dr. Colette Whiting and Dr. Sandra Gillis-Kennedy about the latest dry eye treatments available. Hot compress eye masks are one of the recommended methods for relieving dry eye.

How Does A Hot Compress Eye Mask Provide Dry Eye Relief?

A hydrating hot compress eye mask contains special beads that continuously absorb and store water molecules from the air. When the mask is warmed up in the microwave, the clean, natural moist heat immediately begins to provide soothing relief for your eyes. A heated eye mask helps stabilize the tear film, improves oil gland function, and slows tear evaporation.

After using the mask, your hydrated and lubricated eyes will be able to expel bacteria and debris more efficiently so your eyes feel refreshed and rejuvenated. The heat from the mask also helps unblock meibomian glands and produce more tears.

Contact Dr. Colette Whiting and Dr. Sandra Gillis-Kennedy to discuss your dry eye symptoms and to determine whether hot compress eye masks are the right treatment for you.

Shelburne Primary EyeCare serves patients in Shelburne, Dundalk, Orangeville, Mount Forest, and throughout Dufferin County.

Request Appointment
Call 844-611-3222