Blocked tear ducts can lead to persistently watery eyes. If not addressed promptly, these blockages can cause chronic irritation or severe infection. This condition is not limited to any age group and can manifest in both babies and adults.

Why Do Tear Ducts Get Blocked?

  1. Infants' Vulnerability: Newborns may have tear ducts that aren't fully open at birth or might get blocked, resulting in tear retention.
  2. Physical Irregularities: Anomalies in tear ducts, sacs, or the channels tears traverse can cause obstructions.

Spotting the Symptoms of Blocked Tear Ducts

  • Infants' Tell-tale Signs: Infants mainly show excessive tearing, with eyes appearing watery but without tears overflowing.
  • Adult Manifestations: Adults often experience continuous tearing.
  • Complications: Persistent cases can lead to regular eye irritation, as contaminants remain unflushed. Untreated blockages might cause infections, with pus potentially leading to more severe eye conditions.

Addressing Blocked Tear Ducts: Treatment Modalities

For Infants:

  1. Duct Massage: Initial treatment often entails parents massaging the tear ducts. This approach resolves the issue in 80-90% of infants.
  2. Lancing: If blockages persist through the baby's first year, lancing the obstructed duct might be recommended.
  3. Silicone Tube Insertion: If lancing is ineffective, a silicone tube might be threaded through the drainage system into the nose.
  4. Surgery: Persistent blockages that resist all aforementioned treatments might necessitate surgical intervention.

For Adults:

  1. External Dacryocystorhinostomy: This traditional surgery involves an external eye incision, leaving a visible scar.
  2. Endoscopic Dacryocystorhinostomy: A modern alternative where an endoscope is utilised via the nose, forming a new drainage system. This method offers no visible scarring and a quicker recovery.

Regardless, the ultimate choice of treatment lies in the hands of a medical professional, tailored to each patient's unique situation.