Topic Overview

In adults,
blocked tear ducts, which cause tears to build up in
the eyes, may be caused by one or more conditions. They include:

  • Thickening of the tear duct lining. The tear
    ducts may become narrow due to thickening, swelling, or inflammation of their
    lining. This is called primary acquired nasolacrimal duct obstruction (PANDO)
    and is most common in women over the age of 40.
  • Nasal problems,
    such as:

    • An abnormal growth of tissue in the nose
      (nasal polyps), or tumors.
    • Excessive growth of nasal
      bones.
    • Misshapen bone (deviated septum) and/or cartilage (rubbery
      tissue that coats the ends of bones) that divides the nostrils.
  • Sinus problems, such as:
    • A severe sinus infection (acute
      sinusitis).
    • Complications after sinus surgery.
    • A tumor
      or other abnormal growth in a sinus.
  • Complications after surgery on the face, eyes, or
    sinuses, such as:

    • The repair of a broken bone in the
      face.
    • Surgery that changed the shape of the nose (nasal
      reconstruction).
  • A stone (lacrimal stone) that has formed within the
    tear duct.
  • A broken cheekbone that puts pressure on a tear
    duct.
  • Injury to the bones that hold and protect the eyes
    (orbits).
  • Infection that causes swelling and redness of the eyelid
    and surrounding skin (periorbital cellulitis). Infection may scar the tear
    duct.
  • Tumors or other abnormal tissue growths that block tear
    drainage.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD – Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC – Ophthalmology

Current as ofMay 4, 2017