A blocked tear duct occurs when the opening (duct) that
normally allows tears to drain from the eyes to the nose is obstructed or fails
to open properly. If a tear duct remains partially or completely blocked, the
tear duct sac fills with fluid, becomes swollen and inflamed, and sometimes
Most babies with blocked tear ducts are born
without an opening in the thin tissue (membrane) that covers the duct. In
adults, several conditions can block the tear ducts, such as a sinus infection
or a broken nose.
Usually no treatment is needed for a blocked
tear duct in a baby. In time, the duct will open on its own. If the duct does
not open, a procedure called probing can be used to open it.
adults, the type of treatment for a blocked tear duct depends on the cause. A
blockage caused by infection may be treated with antibiotics. A blockage caused
by a problem with the size or shape of the tear duct may require
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.