Blocked Tear Duct

A blocked tear duct is a very common condition in the Denver area and elsewhere. When tear ducts get blocked, the obstruction can cause inflammation and encourage eye infection. As you age, experiencing a blocked tear duct becomes more likely.
Blocked Tear Duct


A blocked tear duct generally occurs in only one eye at a time, though in rare cases it can happen in both eyes simultaneously. The symptoms are easily mistaken for a wide range of other vision problems, so it is a good idea to have the problem evaluated promptly.

Common symptoms are:

  • Excessive tearing of the affected eye;
  • Redness, possibly accompanied by mucous discharge;
  • Recurrent eye infections (pink eye);
  • Swelling of the eye’s inside corner;
  • Crusting of the affected eyelid;
  • Blurred vision.

If you tear constantly for more than two days or notice your eye is consistently infected, it is a good idea to see an eye doctor right away. Although a tear duct blockage is not usually serious on its own, recurring infections can do damage to the eye. While tear ducts are blocked, the tears in the drainage system become stagnant, promoting the growth of bacteria and viruses.


Blocked tear ducts can happen at any time in life, and some infants are even born with congenital blockage. In most cases, the puncta – openings – of the tear duct become narrow with age and more prone to blockage. Infection, inflammation, facial injury or even a tumor may also cause blockage. Frequent users of eye drop medication are more vulnerable to them, as well.

Treatments & Recovery

Treatment depends in large part on the underlying cause of the problem. A number of tests must be conducted before a treatment approach is selected. These include a tear drainage test and eye irrigation tests. In some cases, certain tests may themselves clear up the blockage.

A technique called dilation, probing and flushing is a simple outpatient solution that may work for some patients. In serious cases, it may be necessary to use specialized medical devices within the tear ducts to clear them out. The most common approach is stenting and intubation, where a thin tube is passed between the puncta and the nose.

Rarely, a complete eye imaging procedure using MRI or X-rays may be performed.

Get the Best Blocked Tear Duct Treatment in Denver, Colorado

If symptoms of a blocked tear duct persist for more than a short time, it is advisable to see an expert. What may start out as a simple condition can develop into something that might threaten your vision. Our team offers the best blocked tear duct treatment options in Denver.

To learn more contact Vision Care Specialists today.