A blocked tear duct is a partial or complete blockage in the pathway that carries tears from the surface of the eye into the nose. Alternative Names Dacryostenosis; Blocked nasolacrimal duct; Nasolacrimal duct obstruction (NLDO).
About 500,000 people in the United States are affected by dacryostenosis every year. Most cases are children under the age of 2 and adults over the age of 50. About 6 percent of babies are born with a blocked tear duct (usually in one eye only). The condition resolves with little or no treatment by the infant's first birthday in more than 90 percent of cases. Approximately six percent of all infants are born with a nasolacrimal duct obstruction (blocked tear duct) affecting one or both eyes. Typically, 80% of these obstructions will clear by themselves within the first 8 months of life. Many cases cannot be prevented.
Proper treatment of nasal infections and conjunctivitis may reduce the risk of having a blocked tear duct. Using protective eyewear may help prevent a blockage caused by injury.
The Association For Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)