Why Tears - Magrabi Hospitals

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Why Tears

Why Tears

Do you suffer from a blocked tear duct? What is a tear duct?

Our eyes have a special draining system for tears called: tear ducts. They start from the corner of the eye and ends in our nose.

Blocked tear duct in newborns

If it is blocked, or had a congenital anomaly in which it failed to open, tears will not pass through the duct, resulting in their over accumulation in our eyes.

Also the duct may be filled with fluids that leads to swelling, inflammation and at the end infection! It is most common in newborns, affects almost 6% of newborns. It usually resolves within a year and has minimal effect on their vision.

Why does it get blocked?

In children

  • When the tear duct tissue fails to open naturally.
  • Inflammation and/or infection.
  • Abnormality in the nasal bone causing the tear duct to be externally obstructed.
  • Underdeveloped or closed opening of the tear duct from the corner of the eyes.
  • It also has a genetic predisposition.

In adults

  • Any direct injury to the nose or tissues around the eyes.
  • Also related to aging: like thickening of inner duct lining.
  • Abnormal structure of the nose.


Symptoms may affect one or both eyes.

Patient usually suffers from:

  1. Heavy tearing ranging from wet eyes till tears running down the cheeks.
  2. Yellowish or whitish buildup secretions in the corner of the eye.
  3. Eyelids may stick together.
  4. Erythema around the eyes and/or nose.
  5. Infection may spread to the eyelids, causing fever, pain, swelling and pus in the eye.
  6. Skin rash could be visible around the nose ala.

If newborns are affected, symptoms may appear as early as the second day of birth!

If patient suffers from common cold or upper respiratory tract infection, symptoms may get worse.

How to diagnose blocked tear duct?

A thorough examination is done, also amount of tears may be measured to make sure if tears are drained normally or not.


In newborns, waiting for a year is the first line of treatment because it may resolve on its own.

But we must take some precautions to avoid complications.

  • Keeping the eye clean is mandatory, by using warm water and a clean cotton ball.
  • Gentle massage of area of blockage.
  • Avoid excess exposure to wind, cold and sunlight.
  • If infection develop, antibiotics are essential.

What if all this is not enough?

A simple probing procedure is required. It has a success rate of 80%.

In the other rare 20% another probing procedure with a stent is essential.


In adults, the treatment depends on the reason of the blockage.

If it is infection, then treatment is by antibiotics.

If structural abnormalities then surgery is required.


Article source: Wikipedia

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