When the ducts that carry tears to and from your eyes are blocked, it can cause symptoms like itching, irritation, and watery eyes. Sometimes, the issue clears up on its own. Other instances require a doctor’s intervention.

If you suspect you have a blocked tear duct, see your vision care professional to develop a treatment plan. Your eye doctor may recommend one of the following treatments:

  • Massage – The simplest way to open a blocked duct is a massage of the lacrimal sac. This is where your tears drain out of the eye and into the tear duct. A gentle, twice-a-day massage as directed by your doctor may take care of the issue without further intervention.
  • Antibiotics – Your tear duct blockage may come with an infection. Your eye doctor may prescribe antibiotics in the form of eye drops or an ointment. While this may not clear the blockage itself, it will take care of the infection and any discharge that comes with it.
  • Tear Duct Probing – This is used especially in children whose tear ducts have not opened on their own. A thin probe is inserted into one or both of the tear ducts to open the blockage. The procedure is performed while the child is asleep, and is painless.
  • Balloon Catheter Dilation – Should a blockage not clear up on its own, and should a probe not work, your eyecare professional may try this procedure. A thin catheter is inserted into the tear duct. The balloon at the end of the catheter is inflated to widen the duct. This balloon is then removed.
  • Intubation – More severely blocked tear ducts may require an eyecare professional to put tiny tubes into your tear ducts. These tubs then stay in place for three to six months. They will help to widen the tear ducts and allow tears to drain.
  • Surgery – Severely blocked ducts may require surgery. A procedure called a dacryocystorhinostomy (or DCR) bypasses the blocked tear duct creates an alternate route for tears to drain out of the eye.

In all cases, if you believe you have a blocked tear duct, please see your vision care professional.

Valley Eyecare Center is Here to Help

If you’re concerned about your eyes, or need to schedule your annual exam, Valley Eyecare Center is here! You can contact us online, or call us at (602) 955-2700 for an appointment.