punctal occlusion

This is a technique used to decrease the absorption of eye drop medications. Normally when you put eye drops in, the medication drains through the puncta, down the nasolacrimal duct, and into the nose. This is why people have a runny nose when their eyes are teary. Unfortunately, the nose absorbs medicines directly into the blood stream (which is why cocaine is snorted and not swallowed).  Some of the medicines we use can have significant systemic absorption and can cause side effects. Overall these side effects are rare, but you can perform punctal occlusion to help avoid the absorption. After you put your eye drops in, immediately close your eyes.  Don’t blink, as blinking can act as a pump and shoot the medicine right into your nose. Instead, take your fingers and press the bridge of your nose right next to your eyes. Hold this for a good 20 seconds and this will decrease your systemic nose absorption significantly.

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Dr. Timothy Root is a practicing ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon in Daytona Beach, Florida. His books, video lectures, and training resources can be found at:

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