Tear duct surgery may be needed when there is a blockage in the tear system. Although it is a delicate operation, it is mostly painless with quick and easy recovery. Commonly the surgery treats a blocked tear duct and is only performed when other options have been unable to resolve the issue.
What are the symptoms of a blocked tear duct?
- Continually watery and irritated eye.
- Excessive tearing.
- A red tint to the white of the eye.
- Chronic eye infections, such as pink eye (conjunctivitis).
- Swelling at the inside corner of the eye with pain.
- Blurred vision from excessively watery eyes.
- Mucus buildup on the surface of the eye or on lids.
If your eye is tearing up constantly for days or if you experience a continual infection of that eye, you should come in for an exam. Some tear duct blockages can be caused by tumors, and early detection is vital.
What can cause the need for tear duct surgery?
When a tear duct requires surgery, the causes behind it may also need to be addressed so that it doesn’t reoccur. Some possible causes are:
- It was something you were born with. In cases like this, the surgery could fully resolve the issue.
- Age. As we get older, the puncta (tear drainage) can narrow and becomes more easily clogged.
- Inflammation or infection of the tear duct system.
- Disruptive trauma near the drainage system.
- Tumors near the drainage system can push against the narrow passageways and cause a blockage.
- Chemo and radiation side effects can sometimes cause a blockage.
What is the tear duct surgery procedure?
Treating a blocked tear duct with surgery successfully has a long medical name but is a simple procedure: dacryocystorhinostomy. It opens the passageway for tears to drain once again. There are two general options:
In this procedure, Dr. Ardesh will make a tiny incision on the side of your nose closest to the tear sac is located. He will then create a new passageway from the sac to your nasal cavity and install a stent to ensure the new route remains open. The stent will be removed in 3 to 6 months after full healing has occurred. When the stitches are closed and heal, any tiny scar that remains should be nearly invisible.
This is a procedure performed from within the nose structure with extremely tiny instruments. It opens a channel from your nasal chamber to your duct system. This procedure requires no outer incision but for some cases has less of a success rate as the external option.