Excessive tearing can cause blurred vision, skin irritation, and significant frustration for some patients. Tearing can be caused by blockage of the tear drainage system, eyelid malposition, or excess tear production.
Dr. Dal Canto specializes in treating patients with tearing due to eyelid malposition and/or blockages of the tear drainage system. The external tear duct openings (puncta), eyelid ducts (canaliculi), or the tear drainage duct into the nose (nasolacrimal duct) can become obstructed resulting in constant or intermittent tearing. Dr Dal Canto will determine the cause of your tearing during you initial visit with him.
The Causes and Symptoms of Obstructed Tear Drainage Ducts
There are a variety of causes for tear duct obstructions. The most common is aging changes, although infection, inflammatory disorders, medications, and tumors can be at fault. Blockages of the tear drainage ducts can result in excessive tearing, mucous discharge, irritation, swelling, pain, and infection. Babies can be born with blocked nasolacrimal ducts, causing tearing, eyelash crusting, and mucous discharge. Many times, babies will outgrow the blockage in the first 9-12 months of life. If they remain obstructed, surgery is recommended at around 1 year of age.
How An Obstructed Tear Duct Is Treated or Repaired
Dr. Dal Canto will determine whether your blockage is severe enough for surgery and which procedure is most appropriate. The most common blockage is within the nasolacrimal duct, which normally drains tears into the nose. If the blockage is complete, dacryocystorhinstomy (DCR) surgery is performed to bypass the duct and create a new passageway from the lacrimal sac to the nose. Partial nasolacrimal duct blockages can be treated by dilating the duct and placing a temporary stent through the system. In a small percentage of patients, the blockage will be of the puncta or canaliculi. Depending on the severity and extent of the blockage, Dr. Dal Canto will perform a variety of different procedures to fix or bypass the tear ducts.
Lacrimal duct surgeries are performed as an outpatient procedure. Patients generally have minimal bruising or swelling and notice an improvement in their tearing within one to two weeks. DCR surgery has a greater than 90% success rate.
Specializing in diseases of the orbit, eyelids, and tear drainage system, Dr. Dal Canto can fully evaluate the cause of your tearing. As a Fellow of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS), he has extensive training in managing the tearing patient and performing lacrimal duct reconstruction surgery.