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How to tell if you have a blocked tear duct?

Blocked tear ducts can lead to watery and irritated eyes if tears fail to drain properly. Here’s what you should know about this condition:

Causes of Blocked Tear Ducts:

1. Congenital blockage: Up to 20% of infants are born with a blocked tear duct, which often resolves on its own.

2. Injury: Trauma to the face, such as a broken nose, can cause scar tissue formation that obstructs tear drainage.

3. Aging: Normal aging can lead to narrowing of the tear duct openings, making it harder for tears to drain.

4. Infections: Conditions like conjunctivitis (pink eye) can cause inflammation that blocks the tear drainage system.

5. Medical treatments: Some eye drops used for glaucoma or certain cancer treatments can lead to blocked tear ducts.

Signs of Blocked Tear Ducts:

- Watery eyes and excessive tearing

- Redness, pain, and swelling near the corner of the eye

- Crusty buildup on the eyelids

- Discharge from the eye

- Blurred vision

- Recurrent eye infections due to tear buildup increasing infection risk

Treatment Options:

1. Massage: Gently massaging the lower corner of the eyes near the nose can help clear blockages, particularly in infants.

2. Antibiotics: If an infection is causing the blockage, antibiotics may be prescribed to address the underlying issue.

3. Probing or dilation: Specialized instruments can be used to widen the tear drainage system or flush out blockages.

4. Surgery: Inserting a small tube into the duct can create a pathway for tears to drain properly.

Consulting a healthcare professional is essential to determine the best course of action based on the underlying cause of the blocked tear duct.

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