Treatment of Tearing Problems

Specific Orbital Services and Surgeries performed by the Zeiter Eye Medical Group physicians include:

  • Dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR)
  • Nasolacrimal duct intubation
  • Punctal stenosis and agenesis
  • Canaliculitis

The tear film on the surface of the eye is a critical component of maintaining healthy vision. Your tears provide nourishment and lubrication for the eye as well as wash away any debris that enters the eye. A smooth, balanced tear film (consisting of water, oil and mucus) also helps provide you with optimal vision by helping the eye capture the greatest amount of light into the eye. If there is a disruption of the tear film, you may experience tearing, burning, irritation and most importantly blurred vision. Patients who experience tearing either have a problem with tear production or tear drainage.

The most common problem addressed by your doctor is the blockage of the external tear drain (punctal stenosis), blockage of the portion of the tear drain in the eyelid (canalicular stenosis) and blockage of the tear drain in the nose (nasolacrimal duct obstruction). Tearing is fairly common and when it improves with the use of artificial tears or only happens on rare occasions it requires no further treatment. However, blockage of the tear drainage system externally, in the eyelid, or in the nose can require surgical correction.

Your tears normally drain from the corner of your eye close to the nose, via tiny openings along the eyelid margin into the very fine lacrimal drainage channels (canaliculi). Your tears go into the lacrimal sac, travel down the nasolacrimal duct which lies in a bony canal, and then opens into your nose. You are not aware of the tears draining into your nose and these tears will drain through your throat.

The most common cause of watering eyes is a blocked nasolacrimal duct. Surgery to overcome this blockage is called “dacryocystorhinostomy” or DCR. Your doctor will confirm the site of the obstruction causing the watering by using a lacrimal syringe and gently probing the tear duct.

This simple procedure is intended to relieve the watery, sticky eye caused by blockage of the tear duct (nasolacrimal duct) situated between the tear sac (lacrimal sac) at the corner of the eye and the tear outflow passage into the back of the nose.

The DCR procedure creates a direct connection between the tear sac into the nose, bypassing the blockage which allows the tears to again drain normally. Usually some soft silicone tubes are placed in to the tear duct, which will be removed about two months after your surgery.

Our physicians are regional experts in diagnosing and surgically managing abnormalities of the tear drainage system. To learn more about the treatment of tearing problems, click here to schedule a FREE consultation with Zeiter Eye Medical Group.

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