Having a blocked tear duct means your tears can’t drain normally out of that eye. The condition is common in infants, but it can develop in adults, too. And while a blocked tear duct is usually harmless for babies, in adults it can sometimes be an indication of a significant health problem.
Blocked tear ducts are often treatable and temporary, but if the condition lingers, you ought to see a doctor.
The most common symptom of a blocked tear duct is watery eyes and tears streaming from the eyes.
Other symptoms of a blocked tear duct can include:
- redness and irritation of the affected eye
- mucus or discharge coming from the eye
- crust forming on the eyelids
- eye infections, like conjunctivitis, or pink eye
- blurred vision
- pain and swelling of the inside corner of the eye
You may develop watery eyes alongside a cold, sinus infection, or eye infection unrelated to the tear ducts. Exposure to wind or bright sunlight can even trigger excessive tearing.
Swelling round the eye and eye redness can also be the results of an injury to the eye which will or might not affect the tear ducts.
If the blocked tear duct is the result of a bacterial infection, you’ll also have a fever along side those other symptoms.
Doctors do tear duct blockage surgery to open a blocked tear duct. This brief outpatient surgery is completed by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor). Kids usually head home the same day.
The proper treatment for a blocked tear duct depends on the underlying cause.
If you’ve got a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotic eye drops or pills to treat the infection.
For a narrowed punctum, your doctor can use a small probe to widen it. They’ll then flush or irrigate the tear duct with a saline solution. this is often an outpatient procedure.
If an injury caused the blockage, your best approach could also be to attend several weeks to check if it heals on its own without any treatment.
Other treatments for a blocked tear duct may include:
Balloon catheter dilation
Your doctor guides a really thin catheter through the blockage within the tear duct, ranging from the nose. They then inflate a small balloon several times to push aside the blockage and open up the duct system. This needs general anaesthesia .
Stenting or intubation
Your doctor threads a thin tube through the puncta and throughout the tear drainage system to the nose. The tube, or stent, remains in place and allows tears to empty normally. The procedure also requires general anaesthesia .
The surgery is named dacryocystorhinostomy. It can be done through an incision on the side of the nose near the lacrimal sac or with special endoscopic tools through the nasal cavity, which leaves no visible scar.