Chronic Dry Eye

Dry eyes make life miserable for more than 20-million Americans. Now there's a new treatment. It's a plug that's made from a space age classic.

About the only treatment are drops, ointments and more drops and even that isn't always effective.

So doctors reasoned, why not try to keep the tears you do make in the eye longer? So they started putting tiny silicone plugs into the duct that drains tears from the eye into the nose.

Now, there's a new type of dry eye treatment. It's a recently approved plug made out of temperature sensitive material. Using just drops to numb the eye, doctors insert the long thin plastic rod into the duct. When body heat warms it, it actually softens and shrinks to a short, fat, soft plug.

Doctors say people are less irritated, less foreign body sensation; their eyes are less red, and using eye drops less frequently.

If the plugs need to come out for any reason, the doctor just flushes the soft plug right down the tear drainage duct.

It's not a cure but it makes the best use possible of what tears you are making.