There are many reasons why someone may have epiphora (tearing that runs down the face). Often people tear as a result of irritating ocular surface disease, or even dry eye can cause reflex tearing. Other common reasons are lower eyelid laxity, ectropion, entropion, or blockages in the tear ducts.
Adults frequently get blockages of the tear ducts. This blockage may be partial or complete and leads to annoying tearing and blurred vision. There is also a higher risk of infection within the lacrimal system when a blockage is present. A dacryocystorhinostomy (bypass for the tear ducts) is performed when there is a blockage in the nasolacrimal duct. This procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia through a small incision hidden in the inner, lower eyelid crease. A separate opening is created from the lacrimal system (tear ducts) to the nose for tear flow, and silicone tubes are passed through the opening to keep it open during the healing process. If the blockage is closer to the eyelids, a separate procedure called a conjunctivo-dacryocystorhinostomy may be necessary.
Patients are frequently found to have multiple problems contributing to tearing. At your office visit, our oculoplastic surgeon will discuss these problem with you and develop an individual treatment plan addressing all causes of your tearing.