Blocked tear duct

When you have a blocked tear duct, your tears can't drain normally, leaving you with a watery, irritated eye. Blocked tear ducts are caused by a partial or complete obstruction in the tear drainage system.

Blocked tear ducts are common in newborns, but they usually get better without any treatment during the first year of life. In adults, a blocked tear duct may be due to an injury, infection or a tumor.

A blocked tear duct almost always is correctable. Treatment depends on the cause of the blockage and your age.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

Signs and symptoms may be caused by the blocked tear duct or from an infection that develops because of the blockage. Look for:

  • Excessive tearing
  • Recurrent eye inflammation (conjunctivitis)
  • Recurrent eye infections
  • Painful swelling near the inside corner of the eye
  • Mucus or  pus discharge  from the lids and surface of the eye
  • Blurred vision

When to see a doctor

If your eye has been watery and leaking or is continually irritated or infected, make an appointment to see your doctor. Some blocked tear ducts are caused by tumors pressing on the tear drainage system, and quick identification of the tumor can give you more treatment options.

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