We specialise in identifying and helping to treat Dry Eye Syndrome

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eyes can be itchy, sore, gritty, red and even excessively watery. Dry Eye sensations are caused by problems with the tear film that form on the front of your eye and protect it from debris.

Dry Eye

A Dry Eye Consultation

There can be a variety of causes of Dry Eye sensations, so we offer a dedicated consulation including test your tear duct drainage, tear volume assessment and a detailed anterior eye check. We formulate a treatment plan, this is followed by a complimentary follow-up appointment, usually after three months, to assess any changes.

Since Dry Eye Syndrome has a variety of causes, we will carry out a full advanced eye examination at the same time to check the rest of the eye for problems (this will not be required if we have seen you for a test within the last three months). For pricing for the Dry Eye Assessment and the Advanced Eye Examination, see our Fees Page.

Dry Eye Treatment in Practice

Uniquely, we can offer a variety of Dry Eye treatments in-house. We can provide tear duct syringing which can break down and remove blockages in the tear ducts. We can also fit Puctum Plugs, tiny plugs that fit into the tear ducts and avoid excessive drainage of the tears.

All of these procedures can be carried out by one of your trusted optometrists, in practice, at a date and time that suit you, no doctor or hospital referrals are required. See our Fees Page for pricing details.

Punctum Plugs

Punctal plugs are small devices that are used to block the tear drainage channel in the inner corner of your eye. The plugs are inserted into the tear duct opening, which is called the puncta. Tears normally drain out from this channel through the back of your nose and into the back of your throat. The punctal plug acts as a dam by preventing tears from flowing out. This helps keeps your eyes moist with your own tears. They can also help artificial tears last longer.

Punctal plugs can be inserted for a short amount of time or permanently. Temporary punctal plugs are typically made out of collagen, a material that is found in bone and skin. These plugs naturally dissolve over time. Permanent punctal plugs are usually made out of silicone.

How Are Punctal Plugs Inserted?

Punctal plugs can be inserted in the lower eyelid, upper eyelid, or both. Before your eye care practioner inserts a plug, he/she will measure the opening of your tear duct to determine the size of plug that you will need to block your tear duct. He/she will sometimes use topical anesthetic drops (numbing drops) before the procedure, but in many cases, no anesthesia is needed. The exact way your eye care practioner inserts the plug depends on the design and shape. Some plugs come with special inserters, but other types are inserted with forceps or other instruments. The location of insertion also depends on the type of plug. You can see some plugs after they are inserted. Others are inserted deeper into the tear duct and will not be visible when you look in the mirror.

You may have some mild discomfort while the punctal plugs are inserted, but it will be very brief. Most people cannot feel the plugs once they are in place. If they do feel them, it is a mild sensation that is not bothersome. You can resume normal activities and drive yourself home immediately after the procedure.

How Are Punctal Plugs Removed?

Temporary punctal plugs dissolve naturally and do not require removal. Permanent punctal plugs do not need to be removed unless you are bothered by them or develop an infection (which is extremely rare).

Removing punctal plugs is usually very easy. Your eye care practitioner may take out the plug using forceps. If the punctal plug has migrated deeper into the tear duct and cannot be removed with forceps, the plug can be flushed out using saline solution.

What are the Risks of Punctal Plugs?

Punctal plugs rarely cause serious side effects, but they do have some risks. Possible risks include:

  • The plug falling out, this is the most common problem
  • Excessive tearing, the plugs can be removed if this happens
  • Eye infection, the plug can be removed if this happens
  • Migration of the plug, the plug would need to be removed if this happens as this can lead to an infection

Talk to your eye care practitioner about any concerns you have about punctal plugs and whether they are good treatment option for you.

Edgbaston Eye Clinic use pre-loaded punctal plugs and most of our plugs fit every punctal size.

Flow Controllers

Flow controllers are a tiny hollow insert which are placed in the tear duct, holding it open.

These Flow Controller plugs are used for draining tears in the treatment of Epiphora caused by zero flow while the rest of the lacrimal duct is normal and keeps a blocked punctum open assuring normal tear regulation.