A partial or complete obstruction of your tear drainage system may require eye surgery. When your tear duct becomes blocked, it stops your tears from draining normally and can even lead to an infection in the nasolacrimal duct or canaliculus. Some common symptoms include excessive tearing, eye irritation, pink eye, mucous or pus discharge, painful swelling in the inner corner of the eyelid and blurred vision. You could also need surgery to correct damage from an eyelid laceration near the nose or to extract a lacrimal sac/nasolacrimal duct tumor. Our oculofacial surgeons at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center know how to diagnose and treat all conditions affecting your tear drainage system.

  • Nasolacrimal Duct Obstruction: Blockage of the duct that drains tears from the eye to the nose can cause the tears to overflow and run down the face. This obstruction can be present from birth, or be acquired during a person’s life. Your oculofacial surgeon will perform a test in the office to determine where the blockage is and what surgical treatment is best for you.
  • Dacryocystitis: Infection of the tear sac is almost always caused by nasolacrimal duct obstruction, and requires a surgery (dacryocystorhinostomy, or DCR) to relieve the obstruction.
  • Canalicular Laceration: Lacerations of the eyelid near the nose often involve the tear drainage system. When this happens, specialized repair of the tear duct is needed to prevent scarring of the duct and chronic tearing.
  • Canalicular Obstruction: Infection, inflammation, trauma, radiation and medications can cause blockage of the eyelid portion of the tear drainage ducts. Surgical correction depends on where the obstruction is, and sometimes requires the placement of a glass tube (Jones tube) from the eye to the nose.
  • Canaliculitis: When the canaliculus (eyelid portion of the tear duct) becomes infected, it will usually require a simple surgical procedure to open the duct and drain the infection.
  • Lacrimal Sac/Nasolacrimal Duct Tumors: Tumors of the tear drainage duct are rare and require imaging (MRI or CT scan) to diagnose. Treatment depends on the type of tumor and whether it is benign or malignant.

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