Watery Eyes

Your eyelids have two small openings (called the punta) that drain tears away from your eye.  Each of these openings lead into a small tube called a canaliculus.  From there, the tears will drain into the large lacrimal sac, into the naso-lacrimal duct which passes through the bony structures surrounding the nose and finally into your nose. Your tear glands produce tears to keep our eyes and cornea moist so that we can see clearly and feel comfortable.  Blinking (like a car windscreen wipers) gently wipes the cornea and pushes tears into these openings.

Symptoms of Blocked Tear Duct

  • Watering eyes
  • Excessive mucus (especially on waking)
  • Swelling (which may be painful) at the lacrimal sac or medial canthus
  • Vision blurring due to the excess mucus in the eye

Click to view AAO video on Blocked Tear Ducts

Causes of Tear Duct Blockage

  • Age (most common cause)
  • Congenital blockage (due to non-fully developed drainage in children)
  • Recurrent nose/eye infection or inflammation
  • Nasal congestion or polyp
  • Injury to the nose or face
  • Tumours
  • Chemotherapy or radiotherapy


1. Partial blockages can be helped by probing and syringing of the tear duct to flush out any mucus plug or debris blocking the duct.  You may also be asked to try lacrimal sac massage morning and night to try to keep the tear duct unblocked.

2. Complete blockages require surgery called Dacrocystorhinostomy

See your Eye or ENT surgeon if you experience persistent watery eye

Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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