Health Watch: Watery eyes may mean blocked tear ducts

Are your eyes constantly watering and running down your cheeks? Perhaps you have blurry vision or pain on the inside corner of your eye? Besides being an annoyance, this could be a sign of something more serious, such as blocked tear ducts.

SLUCare ENTs offer an effective, minimally invasive treatment option to correct it that also leaves no scar.

When you have a blocked tear duct, your tears can't drain normally, leaving you with a watery, irritated eye. This may be due to an injury, infection or tumor.

Signs and symptoms of a blocked tear duct include:
*Excessive tearing
*Redness of the white part of the eye
*Recurrent eye infection or inflammation (pink eye)
*Painful swelling near the inside corner of the eye
*Crusting of the eyelids
*Mucus or pus discharge from the lids and surface of the eye
*Blurred vision

Because your tears aren't draining the way they should, the tears that remain in the drainage system become stagnant. This promotes growth of bacteria, viruses and fungi, which can lead to recurrent eye infections and inflammation.

A blocked tear duct is almost always correctable. Less invasive treatments include warm compresses, massage, and antibiotics for an infection. But if your symptoms are severe, you may need a DCR.

Dr. Joseph Brunworth, SLUCare otolaryngologist and rhinologist says he works closely with SLUCare opthomologist, Dr. Gabriela Espinoza to clear the ducts from outside the nose.

"I will be coming from endoscopically, while she does the puncta -- which is the opening from the outside. She can work on the puncta to make sure they are open leading down into the sack, and then we work in conjunction to open that into the nose."

-Dacryocystorhinostomy – or DCR – is an outpatient procured that opens the passageway for tears to drain out your nose again. There are two types:
*External – requires an incision on the nose to connect the lacrimal sac to your nasal cavity, while placing a stent in the new passageway
*Endoscopic or endonasal – uses a microscopic camera and other tiny instruments inserted through the nasal opening to your duct system. This method requires no incision and leaves no scar, and is as equally effective as the external DCR without the scar.

To learn more or to book an appointment with SLUCare ENTs, click here.

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