In ideal conditions, the eyes are regularly lubricated by a thin film of tears that are continuously produced by the lacrimal glands. These tears are consequently drained towards the corners of the eyes via the puncta. From here, the tears travel to the lacrimal sac, then to the nasolacrimal duct, nose, and finally, the throat where they are swallowed.
Blockage in the nasolacrimal duct can occur in children or adults. The duct may not be completely developed at birth in children, while a tumor, infection, or injury may lead to obstruction in adults. A blocked tear duct typically shows itself with the one or more of the following symptoms:
- Increased tearing or overflow of tears in newborns, which becomes noticeable during the first two to three weeks after birth
- Presence of pus-like discharge
- Presence of crusted mucus along the lash line
- Blurred vision
- Fever that may arise from recurrent infections
- Blood-tinged tears
- Diagnosis of blocked tear ducts
A series of tests will be done to diagnose blocked tear ducts. Apart from the standard physical and ophthalmic examination, assessment of medical history, and imaging tests, a more specific exam to check for blockage in the ducts is performed. This exam involves gentle flushing of dyed fluid via a special instrument to the suspected blocked tear ducts.
For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of blocked tear ducts, call 847.291.6900 to set up an appointment.