• Blocked Tear Duct - Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Blocked Tear Duct — Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

As you may know, our eyes are con­stant­ly replen­ished with tears, to keep our eyes lubri­cat­ed and healthy all while help­ing us see clear­ly. Because of this con­stant hydra­tion sys­tem, our eyes require tear ducts to drain old tears and any for­eign par­ti­cles that may enter our eyes.

Some­times these ducts become blocked and are unable to drain the eyes prop­er­ly, which results in watery, irri­tat­ed eyes. There are no rea­sons for con­cern, clogged tear ducts are almost always cor­rectable, and more annoy­ing than painful.

Often com­mon in new­borns, and are typ­i­cal­ly out­grown dur­ing the first sev­er­al months of life, blocked tear ducts in adults are often a result of out­side con­tribut­ing fac­tors, such as injury, under­ly­ing med­ical cause or treat­ment. Below we will dis­cuss some of the com­mon symp­toms you can expect to expe­ri­ence, caus­es, and treat­ment options avail­able.

Common Symptoms of Blocked Tear Duct

While some peo­ple will expe­ri­ence all of these symp­toms, some may only expe­ri­ence a few. If you find your­self expe­ri­enc­ing any of the fol­low­ing symp­toms, the like­ly cul­prit could be a block­age in your tear duct.

  • Watery eyes and extreme tear­ing
  • Red­ness
  • Chron­ic eye infec­tion or inflam­ma­tion that does not go away with med­ica­tion
  • Swelling or puffi­ness near the inside cor­ner of the eye or eye­lid
  • Devel­op­ment of a crust along the eye­lid
  • Mucus or pus dis­charge com­ing from the tear duct or lids
  • Blurred vision, typ­i­cal­ly from exces­sive tear­ing

These symp­toms are all strong indi­ca­tors of a poten­tial­ly clogged tear duct. There are a few sit­u­a­tions in which you should see you eye doc­tor imme­di­ate­ly and they are: sev­er­al days of extreme tear­ing or repeat infec­tions. These could be relat­ed to a can­cer­ous tumor that is press­ing on the tear drainage sys­tem.



Common Causes of Blocked Tear Duct

For those that suf­fer from blocked tear ducts, there are sev­er­al caus­es that could explain the con­di­tion. As men­tioned above, new­borns often suf­fer from blocked tear ducts but out­grown them quick­ly. Blocked tear ducts can hap­pen at any age and for a vari­ety of rea­sons. The most com­mon caus­es are:

  • Con­gen­i­tal - the rea­son that new­borns fre­quent­ly suf­fer from block tear ducts is that when they are born, their tear drainage sys­tems may not be ful­ly formed. Anoth­er cause in infants is that a thin mem­brane can some­times cov­er the duct open­ing.
  • Aging - as we age, the tiny duct open­ings become small­er, which can result in eas­i­er block­ages.
  • Infection/Inflammation - infec­tion often caus­es inflam­ma­tion, which con­tributes to block­ing tear ducts, but also infec­tion can pro­duce mucus or pus that will cause block­ages as well.
  • Injury/Trauma - force­ful impacts can cause swelling, scar­ring or even bone dam­age that can dis­rupt the tear drainage sys­tem. Some­times eye­lash­es, dirt, make­up or oth­er for­eign debris will end up clog­ging a tear duct.
  • Tumor - as men­tioned above, tumors are a seri­ous con­di­tion that can result in tear duct block­ages by clos­ing off the drainage sys­tem.
  • Medications/Treatments - cer­tain eye­drops (espe­cial­ly those used to treat glau­co­ma) can cause tear ducts to become blocked. Also, a com­mon side effect for chemother­a­py and radi­a­tion treat­ments are blocked tear ducts.

The Treatment of Blocked Tear Duct

When it comes to treat­ing and unblock­ing tear ducts, there are sev­er­al treat­ments used, and it all depends on the under­ly­ing cause of the block­age. From hot/wet com­press­es to tear duct prob­ing and intu­ba­tion, tear ducts are almost always treat­ed suc­cess­ful­ly. So, there is rel­a­tive­ly lit­tle con­cern of a seri­ous prob­lem, but if your blocked tear ducts per­sist, seek pro­fes­sion­al med­ical help imme­di­ate­ly.

Some­times, as a result of improp­er­ly func­tion­ing tear ducts, oth­er glands with­in the eye­lids become blocked or clogged. When this hap­pens, the nat­ur­al pro­duc­tion of healthy tears suf­fers and can cause dry eyes. At Dia­mond Vision, we are proud to offer Lip­i­Flow to our patients who suf­fer from dry eyes syn­drome, as a result of Mei­bo­mi­an Gland Dys­func­tion (MGD).

If you suf­fer from chron­ic dry eyes and are look­ing for a solu­tion, con­tact us, today, to sched­ule your free con­sul­ta­tion, and learn more about how we can help!

November 11th, 2018|Comments Off on Blocked Tear Duct — Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

About the Author:

Born in Connecticut and raised in Upstate New York , Dr. Stetson graduated Cum Laude from Colgate University in New York, and then earned an MD degree with honors at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He distinguished himself again in residency at the Albany Medical Center, where he obtained the highest percentile in the Ophthalmology Knowledge Assessment Examinations. Dr. Stetson has performed more than 50,000 refractive surgeries and has been on staff at Diamond Vision since 2004, before becoming Medical Director in 2006.
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