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What is a blocked tear duct?

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Quick Answer

A tear duct blockage occurs when the eye cannot drain normally due to a partial or complete obstruction in the tear drainage system, according to the Mayo Clinic. A watery, irritated eye can be sign of a blocked tear duct

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Full Answer

Blocked tear ducts can happen at any age but, as reported by the Mayo Clinic, are very common in newborns. Newborn blockages usually clear up without any treatment. For adults, a blockage can be caused by several things, such as age-related changes, eye infections, facial injuries, tumors or topical medications. A doctor can determine if a tear duct is blocked with a tear drainage test or an eye imaging test.

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