Diagnosis of the Nasolacrimal Duct

Dhealthwellness-com – The Nasolacrimal Duct is the drainage system of the eye, which carries tears from the lacrimal sac to the nasal cavity. The duct is connected to the inferior turbinate cavernous body and is lined with a helical system of connective tissue fibers. The lacrimal duct is also responsible for delivering the taste of eye drops, so it is important to close the duct with your finger before using eye drops.

Clogged Nasolacrimal Tract Treatment Options

When the nasolacrimal duct is blocked, there are several treatment options. Antibiotics, saline solution, or even fluorescein dye can be inserted into the duct for examination. Although these methods have relatively low success rates, syringing rarely cures the problem. If the infection is the underlying cause, antibiotic drops may be prescribed. If the symptoms of the obstruction persist, you should consult a nasopharyngologist to receive further treatment.

A blocked nasolacrimal duct is a common cause of watering eyes. The duct drains tears into a small opening near the nose, which can become blocked with inflammation or infection. It can also become blocked due to medications. A baby may be born with an insufficiently open duct. Most babies open their ducts by the time they reach 12 months of age. But sometimes a blocked nasolacrimal duct is caused by another condition, like a tumor.

A child suffering from nasolacrimal duct obstruction will be unable to blink. Nasolacrimal duct irrigation can help open up these valves. The UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh invites parents to participate in the procedure. The procedure usually takes about 30 minutes, and the child will require a follow-up appointment with a pediatric ophthalmologist.

Symptoms of Severe Nasolacrimal Duct Obstruction

Infants with severe symptoms of nasolacrimal duct obstruction may require operative management. The cyst may be marsupialized endoscopically into the inferior meatus, or open with a curette or microsurgical debrider. Patients with serious cases should consult with an ophthalmologist and consider a stent or a nasolacrimal duct probe.

The differential diagnosis of nasolacrimal duct obstruction is wide. In most cases, the condition can be managed by a primary care practitioner, but in the event of any doubt, a referral to an ophthalmologist is recommended. A referral to an ophthalmologist may also be indicated if the infant has signs of glaucoma or dacryocystitis.

Blocked Nasolacrimal Duct is a common birth defect among newborn infants. About 90% of children with nasolacrimal duct obstruction will clear up on their own within the first year. Infections, inflammation, and other causes can block the nasolacrimal duct. Fortunately, this condition is usually temporary and will clear up within a child’s first year of life.

Nasolacrimal Duct Can Cause Watery Eye Symptoms

Complete obstruction of the nasolacrimal duct may cause a symptom of watery eyes. In some cases, a physician may perform a dacryocystoplasty procedure to clear the obstruction. In some cases, the obstruction of the duct has caused conjunctivitis. In this case, a doctor may perform dacryocystoplasty, a procedure in which a thin metal probe is passed through the duct and squirted water into the lacrimal sac.

A blockage of the Nasolacrimal Duct may be due to an infection, an injury, or a tumor pressing on the drainage system. Early diagnosis of this disease allows doctors to treat it early, which may improve outcomes. However, the diagnosis is still vital. If the tumor isn’t detected early enough, further treatment options may be available. It is also important to note that a blockage of the tear duct is common in babies.


Petersen, Robert A., and Richard M. Robb. “The natural course of congenital obstruction of the nasolacrimal duct.” Journal of Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus 15.4 (1978): 246-250.

Mannor, G. E., Rose, G. E., Frimpong-Ansah, K., & Ezra, E. (1999). Factors affecting the success of nasolacrimal duct probing for congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction. American journal of ophthalmology127(5), 616-617.

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