Relieving Your Blocked Tear Ducts

Blocked tear ducts can result in tearing in one or both eyes, which can be significantly debilitating. These blockages can occur at any point along the lacrimal (tear duct) system from the punctum all the way to the distal nasolacrimal duct as tears enter into the nose.


Diagram of Lacrimal System

*Diagram of the Lacrimal System

For an individual to have quality tear production, it requires a delicate balance from the the components of the tear film: lacrimal gland, goblet cells and the fine meibomian glands located along the upper and lower eyelid margin. Interestingly enough, inadequate tear production, or poor-quality tears, can result in reflex tearing when the ocular surface sends a signal to the brain that more tears are needed. In this situation, an individual may only notice increased tears and not be aware that the ocular surface is actually dry.

Alternatively, a significant percentage of tearing patients have some form of lacrimal drainage abnormality not allowing the normal tears to drain to the nose naturally. In this situation, Dr. Scott will perform a detailed evaluation of the patency of your tear drainage system. Once evaluated, recommendations can be given to improve or eliminate your tearing. The correction can be as simple as enlarging the start of the lacrimal system, the punctum, to the more complicated dacryocystorhinostomy procedure (DCR) where the entire distal drainage system is bypassed. A DCR procedure may be indicated when the entire end of the nasolacrimal duct, as it enters the nose, is obstructed. This obstruction prevents tears from draining down the lacrimal system and results in tearing throughout the day. Dr. Scott's recommendations are individualized to your specific anatomic needs.

Keep in mind that results vary according to the individual patient and the chosen procedure. Dr. Scott will explain all surgical procedures as any procedure, no matter how minor or major, has risks.

For more information on tear duct surgery to relieve blocked tear ducts, please call us at 703-620-4300 or use our convenient Request an Appointment form. We welcome patients from Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Fairfax, McLean and neighboring areas.