We have many treatments for tear duct problems, including blocked tear ducts. If there is an infection, our physicians will treat it with antibiotic eyedrops or oral medications. In children, we typically are able to perform a simple probing of the tear duct under sedation. We also may use balloon catheter dilation to open the blockage. In more serious cases, stenting or intubation may be used. In this procedure, the physician threads a small tube into the corner of your eyelid and then into your nose. This tube is left in place for about three months to help with drainage. In cases of complete obstruction (in adults), a procedure called dacryocystorhinostomy or DCR may be performed to bypass the blockage by creating a new passageway between the tear sac and nose. This may be performed with a small incision along side the nose or through the nose using a small lighted telescope (endoscopic DCR).
Many physicians at the University of Minnesota participate in clinical trials. Adults and children treated at the university have access to more clinical trials than anywhere else in Minnesota. Discoveries made here often become the standard of care around the world. Ask your physician about a clinical trial.