Treatment options for clogged tear ducts in adults include the flushing and irrigation of the punctal openings, balloon catheter dilation, stenting or intubation, and surgery, as confirmed by Mayo Clinic. The doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops if infection is the suspected cause, and surgery may be necessary if a tumor is the culprit.
For adults with partially blocked tear ducts or narrowing of the puncta, the doctor may dilate the puncta to flush and irrigate them for temporary relief, according to Mayo Clinic. If this is unsuccessful, the doctor may recommend small incisions in the puncta. Balloon catheter dilation, another conservative treatment, involves a catheter inserted into the lower nasolacrimal duct with a balloon that inflates to widen it. The patient undergoes the procedure under general anesthesia. For stenting and intubation, the doctor inserts a thin tube through the punctum, leaving it there for approximately three months. If the blocked tear ducts are the result of facial surgery, the doctor may recommend conservative treatment, as the condition generally resolves on its own as swelling goes down.
In some cases, patients may need to undergo a surgical procedure such as an external dacryocystorhinostomy, an endoscopic bypass or an endonasal bypass to treat the blocked tear duct, as stated by Mayo Clinic. Follow-up treatment includes the use of topical eye drops and a nasal decongestant spray.