Alternate Names : Dacryostenosis, Blocked nasolacrimal duct
A blocked tear duct is a partial or complete blockage in the system that carries tears away from the surface of the eye into the nose.
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
A tube called the nasolacrimal duct normally drains tears from the surface of the eye into the nose. If this duct is blocked, the tears will build up and overflow onto the cheek, even when a person isn’t crying.
In children, the duct may not be completely developed at birth. In adults, the duct can be damaged by infection, injury, or a tumor.
Pictures & Images
Tear duct blockage
Tears are produced by the lacrimal gland located in the upper outer portion of each eye. Tears drain down and cascade over the eye. Tears then drain into the tear ducts and down into the nasolacrimal duct located on the inner portion of each eye. Tears will accumulate and overflow onto the cheek if there is an excessive amount of tears produced such as in emotional crying, or if the duct is blocked.
Review Date : 8/1/2008
Reviewed By : Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.