Tear ducts can be fully or
blocked. The blockage causes tears to back up inside
the tear duct system and may cause the tears to overflow onto the face
(epiphora). The blockage may also allow infection to develop in the tear ducts
as bacteria and other substances collect in the eye.
tear ducts are present at birth (congenital) and resolve on their own before a
baby is 1 year old.1 A few babies may need
probing to open the ducts. Probing done around age 1
usually works well, and most babies don't need it done again.2
At first glance, the words "contacts" and "children" may not seem to belong in the same sentence. In fact, kids and contact lenses may be a good match depending on the maturity of the child or, more likely, teenager.
A blocked tear duct by itself usually does not
permanently affect a baby's vision or increase the likelihood of having other
Infections may develop many times in the affected
eye. In rare cases, infection may spread to the eyelids and skin around the eye
(periorbital cellulitis). Sometimes a pus-filled sac (dacryocystitis)
In adults, blocked tear ducts may be caused by
infection, structural problems related to injury or surgery, or abnormal
growths within the drainage system. Treatment for a blocked tear duct depends
on the cause.