Why Tear Duct Obstructions Occur

Published on August 10, 2017
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Our eyes and their surrounding structures are incredibly complex, filled with tissues, nerves, glands, and other essential components that must work together in order to properly function. The tear system can be broken down into several structures.

The tears are produced and secreted by the lacrimal gland. Following this, they pass through the lacrimal punctums located on the inner corner of the eyelid. The tears then pass through the lacrimal canals into the lacrimal sac. After this step, the tears are drained through the nasolacrimal duct and into the nose.

A common issue that can occur with the lacrimal system is something known as tear duct obstruction. This issue prevents the drainage of the tears into the nose. If the tears cannot be properly drained, tearing of the eyes may occur. Without a place to go, some of these tears may remain trapped within the eyelid. These stagnant tears can lead to an infection of the eye.

Tear duct obstructions can occur for a variety of reasons. Elderly patients may experience a narrowing of the lacrimal canals known as involutional stenosis, and this can affect drainage of tears. Sinus disease can also lead to tear duct obstructions, as can trauma to the area. It may also be a congenital issue. In fact, roughly 7% of infants are diagnosed with a tear duct obstruction at birth.

Treatments for tear duct obstructions vary depending on the age of the patient, the primary cause of the issue, and the extent of the issue. Tear duct massages can be beneficial, but a probing of the tear duct may be required. If the issue is severe, a procedure known as a dacryocystorhinostomy may need to be performed.

If you are experiencing any tearing issues, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. We will provide you with an accurate diagnosis and will formulate a treatment plan based on your unique needs.

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