Tearing and Lacrimal Problems
Tearing problems may result from congenital causes, age, injury, or chronic sinus/nasal disease. The upper tear duct system and bony tunnel that drains tears from the eye into the nose can become blocked. Tears may then back up and run down the cheeks, and, in some cases, an infection can develop underneath the skin between the eye and the nose (“dacryocystitis”).
In a dacryocystorhinostomy tear duct surgery (DCR), an incision is made near the inside corner of the eye, or within the nose, and a new opening is made to allow tears to drain from the eye into the nose. (In certain situations, the surgery can sometimes be done intranasally to avoid an incision.) A temporary, flexible silicone tube is then placed during surgery to keep the new drainage pathway open. The tube is subsequently removed in the office after healing is complete (typically a few months). The goal of surgery is to reduce tearing, discharge, irritation, and the risk of infection.