Most children who are born with a blocked tear duct get better without any treatment within 4–6 months.
However, in adults, some form of treatment is usually necessary. The best way to address the problem will depend on the extent and cause of the obstruction. Some common treatment methods include:
In mild cases, the following basic treatment methods are an option:
- cleaning of the eyelids
- warm compresses
- prescription creams to reduce swelling
If these methods do not work, a doctor can provide some stronger treatment methods.
In more severe cases, doctors will use a surgical procedure called dacryocystorhinostomy. This surgery involves creating a new passage between the lacrimal sac and the nose to bypass the blockage.
The surgeon will place stents in the new passage to keep it open for 3–4 months while it heals. This procedure has a 90% success rate.
In some cases, surgeons may opt to build a new tear drainage system using a procedure called conjunctivodacryocystorhinostomy.
For blockages due to a tumor
If the cause of a blocked tear duct is a tumor, a doctor will recommend first removing or shrinking the tumor through surgery or other treatments.
For blocked or narrowing puncta
Dilation, probing, and irrigation are possible ways to widen the holes and make sure that the passage is open.
For blockages due to chronic inflammation or scars
Balloon catheter dilation, which takes place under general anesthesia, uses a balloon to open closed or narrowed passages.
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