Blocked tear ducts are a common problem in children and newborns. Normally, our tears move toward the nose and drain into our tear duct system. But sometimes in children, the system becomes blocked and stops working. This can cause a child to develop a pain or redness under the eye and to develop a crust over the eye. If left untreated, blocked tear ducts can cause eye infections and other eye-related problems in children. We have the technology needed to probe and open any blocked nasal ducts, preventing the child from developing a severe infection.

“Dear Dr. Vicente: We never got to say thank you for the care you gave our daughter. You cleared her blocked tear duct last year and for some time afterward I was hesitant to email and jinx the wonderful results. She was a special case with a squiggly duct and we were fearful the procedure might not be successful. In any event, it was successful thanks to you. We can’t thank you enough for your demeanor, skill and concern.”

T.O.

Nasal Lacrimal Tubes

Plugged tear drains can cause infection as well as discomfort and pain. The condition—which develops if the tear ducts do not drain well, causing a back-up of fluid—is marked by excessive watering, swelling in the corner of the eye, mucus buildup, and sometimes, general discomfort. There are a number of treatments available to treat this condition. Narrow, silicone tubes are used if simple probing and irrigation did not help. They are placed in the ducts for four to six months, eliminating the obstruction and preventing reclosure. Risks associated with nasal lacrimal tube insertion are relatively minimal, including infection, and bleeding. The tubes may be easily removed in our office without anesthesia.

Right blocked nasal lacrimal duct. Note the white of the eye is not red; this is not contagious pink eye or conjunctivitis.

Right blocked nasal lacrimal duct.
Note the white of the eye is not red; this is not contagious pink eye or conjunctivitis.


The nasal lacrimal system lies just under the skin. It drains tears and debris away from the eye and into the nose.

The nasal lacrimal system lies just under the skin. It drains tears and debris away from the eye and into the nose.


If the nasal lacrimal system is blocked, the tears cannot drain away properly, and they back up into the eye, overflowing over the eyelid. Because the debris and bacteria are not drained away, the stagnant tears become infected. This leads to chronic mucus and pus buildup.

If the nasal lacrimal system is blocked, the tears cannot drain away properly, and they back up into the eye, overflowing over the eyelid.
Because the debris and bacteria are not drained away, the stagnant tears become infected. This leads to chronic mucus and pus buildup.


Surgical treatment of blocked lacrimal duct. A thin probe can be used to open this blockage. This simple procedure may sometimes be performed in our office with topical anesthesia in babies up to 7 months of age. Babies 11 months or older operate under general anesthesia. If this is not successful, sometimes we may need to repeat this procedure and place a small tube stent to hold open this passageway.

Surgical treatment of blocked lacrimal duct.
A thin probe can be used to open this blockage. This simple procedure may sometimes be performed in our office with topical anesthesia in babies up to 7 months of age. Babies 11 months or older operate under general anesthesia. If this is not successful, sometimes we may need to repeat this procedure and place a small tube stent to hold open this passageway.

To learn more about this option, please contact us today.