First Time User? Sign Up Now
First Time User? Enroll now.
Home > Fitness & Health > Health Library > Blocked tear duct
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 gets infected.
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.
In 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 surgery.
Current as of: August 22, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & John Pope MD - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Christopher J. Rudnisky MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.