Lacrimal Surgery (tear ducts)

What is lacrimal surgery?

The body produces tears continuously to lubricate and clean the eyes. The tears are drawn into a small hole in the inner corner of the eyelid which drains tears into the nose. The tear drainage system doesn’t have much spare capacity and that is why it spills over when we cry.  The drainage system is narrow and can further narrow with age.  If this blocks you can suffer from excessive tears which can cause infections.  Lacrimal surgery is a procedure to unblock the tear ducks and prevent over spilling and possible infections.

What causes a blocked tear duct?

Chronic nose infections can lead to duct blockage. Sinusitis can irritate the tissues and form scar tissue. These are other causes of tear duct blockage:

  • Age – as we age the draining system in our tear ducts can narrow
  • Nose trauma – a broken or damaged nose
  • Nose polyps – any growths or obstructions in the nose
  • Conjunctivitis – viral infections which then cause blockages
  • Tumor – a tumor can press on the tear ducts

How is the surgery performed?

Surgery is a day-case procedure performed through either a small incision made on the side of the nose or endoscopically through cameras inserted into the nose. An opening is made in the bone between the lacrimal sac and the nasal cavity, which creates a direct opening between them and allows tears to bypass the obstructed duct and resume normal tear flow.  You can read more on what to expect following surgery with our aftercare information.