Blocked Tear Ducts: A Guide

Have you noticed that functioning in general is harder? Learn why visiting an optometrist may help you find the source of the problem.

Blocked Tear Ducts: A Guide

13 January 2016
 Categories: , Blog

Your tear duct, located in the inner corner of your eye, is responsible for draining tears away from your eye after they have washed over its surface. Sometimes, this duct can become blocked. Anyone can develop a blocked tear duct, regardless of age or gender. Read on to learn the basics about this condition.

What are the symptoms of a blocked tear duct?

The primary symptom of a blocked tear duct is heavy tearing. Since the tears cannot drain away from the eye through the tear duct, they may run down the cheeks. Some patients notice some white mucous-like substance in the corner of the eye; this may cause the eyelids to stick together when closed for a longer period of time. Often, especially as the condition progresses, redness and irritation occur in the eyelids and around the eye.

What causes a blocked tear duct?

Blocked tear ducts can be caused by blocked sinuses. When the sinuses expand due to increased pressure, the inflamed tissues can press on the tear ducts, essentially sealing them off temporarily. They can also be caused by infections. The mucus that builds up in the eye during the infection can block the tear duct.

How do eye doctors treat a blocked tear duct?

If there is no mucus or pus in your eye, your blocked tear duct is likely caused by sinus swelling. Taking NSAIDs like ibuprofen to relieve the swelling and sitting in a steamy room to encourage your sinuses to drain may relieve the pressure and open up your tear ducts. If you have eye discharge, an eye infection is likely to blame. You should see your eye doctor; he or she can prescribe antibiotics to cure the infection and thus alleviate your blocked tear duct. The eye doctor may also carefully massage the area to clear the duct.

Can blocked tear ducts be prevented?

You can reduce your risk of blocked tear ducts by avoiding eye infections. Never touch your eyes without first washing your hands with antibacterial soap. If someone you know has an eye infection, do not share pillows, towels, or cosmetics with them.

If you do come down with an eye infection, you can reduce your risk of also developing a blocked tear duct by seeking medical treatment promptly. The sooner you start antibiotics, the less discharge your eyes will make.

If you have sinus issues, be sure to work with your physician, one like Bethany Vision Clinic, to find a remedy that works. This will alleviate the pressure near your eyes, keeping blocked tear ducts at bay.