Blocked tear ducts are also known as nasolacrimal duct obstructions. It occurs when a membrane (a skin-like tissue) in the nose fails to open before birth, blocking part of the tear drainage system. If tears do not drain properly, they can collect inside the tear drainage system and spill over the eyelid onto the cheek. They can also become infected, which may lead to the development of conjunctivitis, commonly known as “pink eye.”
Often, the blocked tear duct will spontaneously open six to eight months after birth. However, if the overflow of tearing persists, Dr. Piccione may recommend surgical correction of the condition with a lacrimal probe or silicone tube placement. This procedure is performed in an outpatient setting under general anesthesia and causes little to no pain.