Punctual Plugs

Punctal plugs are another type of device designed to help provide relief from dry eye symptoms. They are small devices which are placed in the tear ducts (puncta) of the eyes, and help prevent fluid from draining from the eyes. This helps keep the surface of the eyes more moist, and to relieve the itching, burning sensations that come with dry eye.

Punctual Plugs in Hixson

What are Punctal Plugs?

Punctual plugs are tiny devices (about the size of a grain of rice) which are inserted into the tear ducts (puncta) of the eyes, which assist the draining of fluid from the eyes. This keeps the eyes more moist, which helps relieve the painful itching or burning which can come with dry eye.

These plugs are generally inserted in the puncta in the upper or lower eyelids (or both if necessary), and there is a different available plug type which is placed in another part of the tear duct (the canaliculus).

Amplify Eyecare Chattanooga

When are Punctal Plugs Used?

Punctual plugs are used when patients are suffering from dry eye, which is when their eyes are not making enough tears or tears of poor quality, leading to dry, irritated eyes. Often, eyedrops are used to moisten the surface of the eyes and treat dry eye, but for some people having punctal plugs inserted can greatly increase their comfort.

Types of Punctal Plugs

Temporary/ Dissolving Plugs

These punctal plugs are made of a material which naturally breaks down over time and is safely absorbed by the body. (Collagen is often used for these.) This type of plug can remain in the eyes anywhere from a few days to several months, and are often used to help ensure the eyes remain moist following refractive surgery like LASIK (dry eye is very common following surgical procedures). They are also a good option for those interested in trying out punctal plugs to relieve dry eye without a long term commitment.

Semi-Permanent Plugs

Semi-permanent plugs are made out of a longer lasting medical plastic, and are designed to stay in the eye for years. They cannot be seen at all in the eyes, and can be removed by an ophthalmologist if the need arises.

Types of Punctal Plugs
How Are Punctal Plugs Inserted?

How Are Punctal Plugs Inserted?

The first step to getting punctal plugs inserted is for the doctor to examine your eyes to determine which type and size of plugs are best for you.

Then, either your tear ducts may be numbed (your doctor will determine if this is necessary, and the plug is placed into your eyelid. You might feel some pressure as the punctal plug is inserted, but discomfort should be minimal, and you should be able to resume normal activities immediately after the procedure.

How Are Punctal Plugs Inserted?

Possible Risks and Side Effects

As with all procedures and treatments, punctal plugs come with some potential risks and side effects.

The most commonly experienced minor side effect is an irritating or scratchy feeling in the corner of your eyes where the plugs are. In most cases, this feeling eventually goes away, or patients become used to it.

A more problematic side effect is that the plugs make your eyes overly watery with too many tears. If this occurs, the plugs may need to be removed or replaced with a different type.

It is uncommon, but possible for the plugs to move or come out of the eyes (usually as a result of rubbing the eyes.)

Punctal plugs can sometimes cause irritation of the tear ducts, leading to inflammation and swelling. If left untreated, this inflammation can lead to damage to the tear ducts.

If the plugs don’t fit properly, they can stick out of the tear ducts and cause irritation by rubbing against the eye or eyelid.

Eye infections due to punctal plugs can occur, though this is very rare. In such cases, treatment will be required for the infection, and your doctor may decide to remove the plugs.

If you experience any sort of side effect after receiving your punctal plugs, contact your doctor immediately for advice on what to do.

Which Patients Should Not Get Punctal Plugs?

Punctal plugs are not for everyone. Certain conditions can make it inadvisable to get them; your doctor will let you know if this is a case during your consultation.

Patients who have an active infection, issues with the drainage of the lacrimal system, or sensitivity to the material the plugs are made of, should not get punctal plugs. Additionally, if a patient has allergic conjunctivitis, punctal plugs should be avoided as they could result in allergens remaining on the ocular surface. Patients with severe blepharitis should also avoid punctal plugs.

When Are Punctal Plugs Removed, and What is the Process for That?

If certain serious side effects occur, your doctor may opt to remove your punctal plugs.

Most punctal plugs can be removed without surgery, by simply using forceps to pull them from the tear ducts or flushing them out with a saline solution.

Punctal plugs which were inserted deeper (inside the canaliculus) have to be surgically removed.

Types of Punctal Plugs
How Are Punctal Plugs Inserted?

Speak With Our Doctor About Punctal Plugs

If other treatments for dry eye, such as eye drops or artificial tears, haven’t done enough to relieve your symptoms, punctal plugs may be what you need. Contact Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga at (423) 710 3965 to schedule a consultation today. Following an examination, our doctor will be able to make a recommendation for you.

Dr. McBryar cartoon


Punctal plugs are devices that can be inserted into the tear ducts to help relieve dry eye symptoms. If you would like to learn more about punctal plugs or schedule a dry eye exam at Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga, call (423) 710 3965. Patients with dry eyes visit our clinic from all over Tennessee, and we are proud to be a leading provider of dry eye care for patients from Hixson, Chattanooga, Cleveland, and Middle Valley.

Related Articles


Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.

Amanda T.

Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.

Alexa H.

Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!

Charlotte M.

Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

Thank you!

Olivia C.

Seems much less frustrated with life

Reads non-stop and fast

Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

Seems much more confident

Thank You!!!

Kelly O.

When we first came to the practice, my son did not have huge issues, but lots of small ones- trouble with reading, sports (hitting the baseball consistently), coordination, etc- that were not easily detectable,but when put together presented issues. The staff here were all very professional and loving towards him. While I was concerned in the reading, my son was concerned with the athletic side. Seeing improvement night off the bat gave him confidence that i have nor seen in him and made him want to not only Come to therapy, but also made him want to work hard. He has surpassed his grade level and above in reading and hit his first home run this year! Thank you!!!

Alice M.
1 2 3 10



The impact of screen time on dry eye: tips for prevention

According to a recent study, people who spend more than 2 hours a day on digital devices are 2.5 times […]

Read More

Chattanooga pediatric eye doctor shares how children with vision problems can struggle academically

Many people believe that good eyesight is simply the ability to read the "20/20" line on an eye chart, but […]

Read More

Is there a difference between a scratched eye and a scratched cornea?

Corneal abrasions, or scratched corneas, are a common occurrence and make up a significant portion of eye injury cases. In […]

Read More
see all blogs

Contact Us To Amplify Your EyeCare

Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga Logo

Working Hours

Monday - Tuesday
7:30AM - 5:15PM

Wednesday - Thursday
8:00AM - 5:15PM

Friday - Sunday

1043 Executive Drive Suite #101 Hixson, TN 37343
(423) 710 3966
Website Accessibility Policy
Safety protocols page
privacy policy
For Patients
Call Us
eyefile-adduserphone-handsetcalendar-fullarrow-uparrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram