Blocked Tear Ducts

what are blocked tear ducts

Having blocked tear gut means that your tears are not flowing from your eyes in a normal way. This condition is common and can affect a lot of people. It is more so common in younger children. However that doesn’t mean it will not develop in adults too.

But one thing you should be knowing is that this health issue is not a dangerous one. And the good news is that often it is of a temporary nature and you can get it treated.

However when and how the treatment should take place is what we will cover and talk about in this article. As well as looking into its symptoms, causes, complications and if there are any prevention tactics that might just work.

So let’s start:

Why do Tears Not Roll Down?

when tears dont roll down

We will now talk about what is the major phenomenon behind this condition. It is basically when you will feel irritation in your eyes. Simply because the tear ducts are blocked and the tears are beginning to build in your eyes. This leads to your eyes suffering from a painful swelling. Also you will notice that the eyes seem watery. But of course no tears are falling from the eyes.  This also leads to higher chances of eye infection.

In a healthy person what usually happens is that your tear ducts are working just fine. The tears will flow down from the eyes, specifically from the lacrimal glands. These are those which are sitting above the outer side of your eyes.

They will drain out through the holes that come in the eyelids. And these are then taken to the sac which comes onto the side of your nose. So this is the complicated yet important drainage system which gets a blockage. And the major area which will suffer from a blockage is basically your tear ducts.

Now, let’s look into some of the major symptoms of this condition:

Symptoms of Blocked Tear Duct

One of the major and most common symptoms of this condition is you will notice that your eyes are becoming watery yet your tears will not fall from the eyes. However there are some other conditions and warning signs you should be looking out for as well. These include:

  • Having redness in the eyes
  • Feeling complete irritation from one or both the eyes
  • Seeing that there is a crust forming on the eyelids
  • You will notice that there is eye infection and in some cases, it will become even worse if you don’t start the treatment soon
  • There is a sensation of blurry vision
  • Pain and swelling can happen frequently
  • Eating disorder can lead to problems
  • Pink eye is a common condition which will only get worse with the passage of time
  • In some cases swelling in the eyes will become more common.
  • You will notice redness and this gets worse if you are suffering from an injury to the eye

In some cases you may also develop watery eyes which are coming alongside a cold or even a sinus infection.

Also if you already have a tear duct which is blocked, this condition can become even worse when certain things add on to it. This includes:

  • cold weather
  • strong sunlight
  • wind
  • as well as severe sinus infections

So now that you have a good understanding on what are the symptoms to watch out for, I want to talk to you about the causes of this condition.

Causes of Blocked Tear Ducts

determine the causes of blocked tear ducts

Having this condition can be due to a number of reasons. One of the major ones being  that you are suffering from an eye infection. Also this condition can trigger from nasal or even tear duct system infection.

  • Sometimes a person may be suffering from this condition when they are suffering from a trauma. This can also mean having an injury which leads to the blockage of your tear ducts. The injury or condition can be very traumatizing and it can become severe.
  • The trauma can also be minor like having some particles fall into your eyes. Or it can be something as severe as getting a blow on the head which can further cause complications to your eye and the eye socket. Also a broken nose can impact how your tear ducts are functioning.
  • Inflammation is also a leading cause. It is when you have a chronic infection and you will notice how the tear drainage system which becomes blocked and impacted too.
  • Also in some rare cases, you will notice that making use of eyedrops can lead to the occurrence of blocked tear ducts.
  • Lastly, you will notice that having a blocked tear duct can also take place due to certain chemotherapy medication and radiation treatment that you are currently taking on.

Aside from knowing the symptoms and causes, I want to also highlight the risk factors relating to this condition.

Risk Factors of Blocked Tear Ducts

Check out some of the common factors which make you prone to this condition. These will include:

Age- older adults are more prone to having this condition develop. This is mainly due to age-related issues.

Eye Inflammation- if your eyes seem to be red and inflamed, you will notice that there is a higher risk of developing this condition.

Post-surgery- in case you had any surgery which includes that of eyelid, nasal or even sinus, you become more prone to suffering from this condition. It is best to get regular treatments to ensure no complications ensue.

Glaucoma– this relates to making use of anti-glaucoma medications in the eye. When you are making use of them, you will be at a higher risk of developing this condition.

Now I want to touch upon the complications that come with this health concern:

Complications of Blocked Tear Ducts

Some of the major complications that can arise from this condition is that your tears are forming but they are not draining. When this happens, you will notice that these very tears have become stagnant in the eyes. And when this happens, it calls for and leads to many problems.

This includes issues of growing bacteria, viruses as well as fungal formation. This will be leading to even more problems, including recurrent eye infections as well as inflammation.

This is also relating to how your tear drainage system is getting impacted. It means that the clear membrane on your eye surface will be infected and this leads to a blocked tear duct.

Prevention Tactics to Adapt

Now that you have a pretty good understanding as to how the whole process works. Now let’s talk about some of the leading prevention tactics. In order for you to reduce the risk of developing this condition, it is important that you adapt proper eye care mechanism.

You should steer clear and make sure that there are no eye infections or inflammation. When it comes to your eye care, just following a few simple steps will make a difference. This includes:

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly
  • Don’t run your eyes frequently
  • Always make sure that you replace your eyeliner and mascara regularly
  • It is important that you don’t share cosmetics with anyone
  • In case you use contact lenses, make sure they are clean
  • Make sure you avoid alcoholic drinks and drink plenty of water
  • Visit your eye care specialist to know your eye condition on a regular basis

So how do you get treatment for this condition. Let’s now talk about that in detail:

Treatment of Blocked Tear Ducts

the many issues and concerns with blocked tear ducts

When it comes to treatment that works, you should know that no home remedies can reverse a very complicated case. Though it is wise that you keep your face and eyes clean and washed.

So when it comes to the treatment of this condition, it basically relates to the causes of the condition. In case you have a bacterial infection, you will get antibiotic eye drops or pills.

In case you are suffering from a narrowed punctum, your doctor will have to make use of a small probe. This helps in flushing the tear duct with a saline solution.

Also in cases of other complicated causes, you will need to take on treatment which is also complex. And this can happen only on the advice of your eye specialist. So make sure you get proper consultation and diagnosis of the condition.


Your tears are a very important part of your whole body’s mechanism. Make sure you are treating your eyes right. If not, it can lead to various complications and problems. Blocked tear ducts basically relates to when your tears do not flow from the eyes in a normal way. It is a condition which can cause irritation in the eyes. Also it can lead to severe infection and even inflammation of the eyes.

In this article, we talked in detail on how you can identify the symptoms, causes, complications, risk factors and how treatment varies depending on the underlying cause. Remember, your eyes are sensitive and you need to adapt proper hygiene tips to ensuring they are well taken care of. When you adapt proper prevention techniques, it keeps the eyes safe from complications and further problems.



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