What Are Tear Ducts? A pump inflates a balloon at the end of the tube to widen the duct. They range from massage to procedures that remove the blockage. The moisture from tears is reabsorbed into your body, or it evaporates. This can make your tear ducts more likely to become blocked. These are above each eye. An X-ray or CT scan of the tear duct system may be ordered, especially if your doctor suspects the blockage might be caused by a tumor or other obstruction.
Trauma cuts the drainage duct. Adults and children with abnormal facial or cranial developments, such as those associated with Down syndrome , are at a higher risk for several conditions, including blocked tear ducts. A broken nose can affect the tear ducts, too. They flow across the surface of your eyes to clean and moisten them, then they leave your eyes through a system of tiny drainage tubes that run along your nose. They exit through two small holes called puncta in the upper and lower inside corners of your eyelids, next to your nose. It will usually open on its own within a few months. The holes in the corners of the eyes, the puncta, narrow due to age. There should be little or no recovery period for other procedures, aside from basic precautions to keep your eyes and nose injury-free. Small, rounded growths called polyps form in the nose and block the duct. Other less-invasive treatments may be just as effective. If you have glaucoma or another eye condition that requires eye drops for treatment, you may also be at a higher risk for tear duct problems. These precautions are meant to prevent hemorrhage. Your doctor may also flush a special fluid into the tear duct opening. Surgery The surgical procedure is called dacryocystorhinostomy. An X-ray or CT scan of the tear duct system may be ordered, especially if your doctor suspects the blockage might be caused by a tumor or other obstruction. If you get chronic eye or nasal passage infections, you may experience frequent bouts of blocked tear ducts. The doctor threads a thin tube called a catheter into the tear duct. Normal activities should be possible after a week, though you should avoid activities that could lead to facial trauma, such as martial arts, soccer, or similar sports. Swelling around the eye and eye redness may also be the result of an injury to the eye that may or may not affect the tear ducts. If the blocked tear duct is the result of a bacterial infection, you may also have a fever along with those other symptoms. If it is, your eye doctor has things he can do to open up the blockage and help your tears flow normally again. If you have a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotic eye drops or pills to treat the infection. The tube, or stent, remains in place and allows tears to drain normally. This is true even if the problem tends to resolve on its own. The procedure also requires general anesthesia. The condition is common in infants , but it can develop in adults, too. Other symptoms of a blocked tear duct can include:
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