New York Eye and Face Oculoplastic Surgery
Oculofacial Plastic Surgeon located in West Harrison, NY
Blocked Tear Duct Q&A
What is a blocked tear duct?
A blocked tear duct in your eye interferes with the natural method of drainage that carries tears away. The result is your eyes leak tears continually, which is irritating, blurs your vision, and could make your eyes sore.
The tear ducts release lubricating fluids that keep your eyes moist, as well as emotional tears. They are part of your lacrimal system, which produces your tears and then transports them through a pathway into your nose.
There are two tiny openings (puncta) in your inner eyelid. Your tears travel along a pipe system from the puncta into a small lacrimal sac and, from there, go down the lacrimal duct to empty into your nose.
If you have a blocked tear duct, it prevents the natural drainage system from working. As a result, tears run out onto your cheek instead of into your nasal passages.
What treatments are available for a blocked tear duct?
There are a variety of options to help treat blocked tear ducts. In the mildest cases, a course of eye drop medications may relieve your symptoms.
If the eye drops fail to remedy the problem, your provider can perform surgery to correct the blockage. Surgery for a blocked tear duct is typically an outpatient procedure that takes place under general anesthetic, so you're asleep throughout the operation. The surgery takes about half an hour, and most patients can go home the same day.
What does surgery for a blocked tear duct involve?
Surgeries that can help with a blocked tear duct include:
A conjunctivodacryocystorhinostomy (CDCR) or Jones tube procedure involves inserting tiny tubes to create a route through the conjunctival sac in your eye to the lacrimal sac in your nasal cavity.
Dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR) is a more common procedure in which your doctor creates a new drainage pathway into your nose. There are two ways of performing DCR. Internal DCR (endoscopic DCR or endo-DCR) leaves no visible scar as your provider performs the surgery through your nose using an endoscopic camera.
In certain cases, a more appropriate option is external DCR, where your doctor makes a small incision near the inner aspect of your lower eyelid.
What should I expect after surgery for a blocked tear duct?
You should expect to develop some bruising and swelling following surgery for a blocked tear duct and an occasional nosebleed. These after-effects should lessen within a week of your surgery.
Your provider may recommend that you stay at home to recover for the first week, after which you should be comfortable enough to return to work. During the recovery period, you should avoid any heavy exertions. You can use a nasal spray to reduce any discomfort.
If you have symptoms of blocked tear ducts, call New York Eye and Face Oculoplastic Surgery today or book an appointment online.