Your eyes depend on tears to keep them healthy. However, if you have a blocked tear duct, the excess tears that have nowhere to go can cause your eyes to be watery, itchy or irritated. Here’s what you need to know about blocked tear ducts, including how they are caused.
What Happens When Your Tear Duct is Blocked?
Your eyes need tears to keep them clean and moisturized. But if your tear duct is blocked, the tears that your eye naturally produces cannot drain properly. This leaves your eye watery, irritated and more prone to infection. Depending on the location of the blockage, you could be at risk for dacryocystitis, which is a serious infection of the tear sac.
Common Causes for Blocked Tear Ducts
Anyone can develop a blocked tear duct. In fact, babies are sometimes born with them. Fortunately, the problem usually will resolve on its own after a few months. For adults, however; the ducts can become blocked for numerous reasons, including:
- Pinkeye or other eye infections that cause swelling around the tear duct
- Normally harmless debris or small particles stuck in the tear duct
- Age-related narrowing of the puncta, which are holes in the eyes’ corners
- Trauma to the drainage duct
- Injury, such as a broken nose that caused scar tissue to press on the tear duct
- Tumor that presses on the eye’s drainage system
- Eye drops used to treat glaucoma that can cause the swelling of the tear ducts and conjunctiva
- Sinus surgery that damaged the tear ducts
- Chemotherapy that caused the tear ducts to swell
If you suffer from continued eye infections or your eye tears constantly for several days, you could have a blocked duct. There are various non-surgical and surgical treatments available depending on the cause of the blockage. Consult with your eye doctor to determine the best course of treatment.
Call Valley Eyecare Center at (602) 955-2700 to schedule an appointment with one of our eye doctors.