Adults can reduce the risk of blocked tear ducts by treating eye and nasal infections quickly and properly. Protective eyewear, such as goggles, prevents injuries to the eye that could cause a blocked tear duct. Prevention of blocked tear ducts is often difficult, states the National Institutes of Health.
A blocked tear duct occurs when the tear drainage system becomes partially or completely obstructed. The tears cannot drain properly, causing tear build-up and watery eyes. Other symptoms include swelling or pain on the inside corner of the eye, discharge from the eye and blurred vision.
Causes of blocked tear ducts include injury to the nose or eye, nose polyps, infections, tumors and narrowing of the openings in the ducts that sometimes occurs with age. The cause of the blocked tear duct plays a role in prevention. Some causes, such as natural narrowing of the duct openings with age, are not preventable, whereas others can be controlled.
Eye and nasal infections can cause blocked tear ducts due to the irritation caused in the tear duct drainage system. Treat such infections immediately to reduce blockages. Additionally, protect the eyes when engaging in potentially dangerous activities that could cause injury, such as woodworking, lawn care or sports.