Tearing Disorders

Blocked Tear Duct Treatment

Sometimes, more than one treatment or procedure is needed before a blocked tear duct is fully opened. If an infection is suspected, your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics.

With a procedure called stenting or intubation, tiny tubes are used to open up blockages and narrowing within the tear drainage system. Again, general anesthesia is usually used. Your ophthalmologist threads a very thin tube through one or both puncta in the corner of your eye, all the way through the tear drainage system and out through your nose. A tiny loop of tubing remains at the corner of your eye, but while it is visible, it’s usually not bothersome. These tubes are generally left in for three to four months, and then removed.

Surgery is usually the preferred option for people who develop blocked tear ducts.

Dacryocystorhinostomy is the surgical procedure usually used to treat most cases of blocked tear ducts in adults. This technique creates a new route for tears to drain out through your nose normally again by developing a new connection between your lacrimal sac and your nose. This new route bypasses the duct that empties into your nose (nasolacrimal duct), which is typically the blockage site. Stents or intubation typically are placed in the new route while it heals, and then removed three or four months after surgery. The steps in this procedure will vary depending on your particular tear duct blockage.

Depending on the type of blockage, your surgeon may recommend creating an entirely new route from the inside corner of your eyes (puncta) to your nose, bypassing the tear drainage system altogether. This reconstruction of your entire tear drainage system is called conjunctivodacryocystorhinostomy.

To prevent postoperative infection and inflammation, you will need to use a nasal decongestant spray and eye drops. After about three to six months, your ophthalmologist will remove any stents that were put in place to keep the new channel open while healing.

In most cases of blocked tear ducts after a facial injury, the drainage system starts working again on its own a few months after the injury, and no additional treatment is necessary. Your ophthalmologist may recommend waiting a few months after the injury before considering surgery to open the blocked tear duct.

If a tumor is causing your blocked tear duct, surgery may be performed to remove the tumor, or other treatments may be used to shrink it.

Excessive Tearing

A normal function of the eyes is tearing. When that tearing becomes excessive it can be a symptom of an underlying health condition. Tears from the eyes originate from the tear gland which is also called the lacrimal gland. This gland is located above the outer corner of each eye.

Tears are essential in supplying moisture to the cornea or the front of the eye and they prevent it from being damaged and inflamed. They also help prevent keratitis and corneal abrasions and ulcers.

When tear ducts become blocked it can cause tears to well up and fall excessively. Patients then complain that this watery eye effect makes them look like they are crying. There are a few reasons that tear ducts can become blocked, including infection and inflammation. There are a few diseases that can cause the condition including sarcoidois and lymphoma. Radiation treatments and trauma can also be a cause.

Besides blocked tear ducts, any irritation of the cornea or conjunctiva can cause watery eyes.

There are a few symptoms that are often associated with excessive tearing:

  • Eye redness
  • Eye swelling
  • Eye infection
  • Vision impairment
  • Allergies