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Tear Duct Surgery for Lacrimal System Disorders

If you are experiencing excessive tearing of the eye, it may be due to a Lacrimal System Disorder.

The lacrimal system contains the ocular structures for tear production and drainage. Disruptions in either the production of tears or the drainage of tears can produce a wide range of lacrimal disorders that result in acute or chronic discomfort of the eye. When excessive tearing gets out of control, oculoplastic surgical procedures may be necessary for patients to correct the problem.

Houston Lacrimal System Oculoplastic Surgery

Genetics, injury, age and disease can not only damage your eyes and affect your vision but can also affect the structures supporting the eye as well. Oculoplastics is the field of medicine dedicated to correcting problems that impair the appearance and function of the eyelids.

At Berkeley Eye Center of Houston, we offer patients the latest cosmetic and reconstructive oculoplastics procedures. Oculoplastics surgeon Dr. Aida Bounama treats a wide range of conditions that afflict the eyelids, eyebrow, eye socket and tear duct system.

Problems Caused by Lacrimal System Disorders

Tears are produced in the lacrimal gland located under the upper eyelid. Tears are important in that they keep the eye moist and clean, washing out any foreign particles that could damage or irritate the eye. The tears drain through a complex series of channels that lead from the inner corner of the eyelids and into the nose that are known as the lacrimal drainage system. When something goes wrong with the lacrimal system, all kinds of problems can result.

Excessive tearing is one of the most common types of lacrimal system disorders. It is typically caused when the lacrimal gland ducts become clogged, causing the tears to overflow rather than being washed away. The excessive tearing occurs because of:

  • Nasolacrimal duct obstruction – blockage of the tear drain in the nose
  • Canalicular obstruction – blockage of the tear drain in the eyelid
  • Punctal stenosis – blockage of the tear drain opening on the eyelid margin

Blockage within the lacrimal system can cause significant problems and discomfort, including blurred vision, steady stream of tears flowing down the face, redness and skin irritation from constant dabbing of tears. Left untreated, the lacrimal system may become infected. Infection in the lacrimal sac can become a serious medical problem if the infection spreads to the face, orbit or brain.

Treatment Options

If the problem fails to resolve itself, it may be necessary to seek help from an experienced oculoplastic surgeon to clear the blocked tear duct canal. Dr. Bounama offers a wide range of tear duct surgery options including:

  • Punctoplasty – a procedure that opens the punctum, the tear duct opening on the eyelid margin
  • Dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR) – in this procedure, we temporarily insert hollow tubes into the tear ducts to clear the channels connecting the eyelid to the nose to allow normal drainage. Once the obstruction is gone, the tubes are removed
  • Jones Tube placement (cDCR) – used in extreme cases – similar to a DCR, only the tubes are permanently left in the tear duct canals to keep them clear from obstruction.

Don’t Be Teary Eyed!

If you are experiencing problems with abnormal tearing, you may benefit from an oculoplastic surgical procedure to clear your tear duct canals. The Berkeley Eye Center of Houston delivers outstanding surgical and non-surgical oculoplastic treatment options to patients in Houston and surrounding communities. Oculoplastic procedures are performed as outpatient surgery and require only mild anesthesia. Recovery time from the swelling and bruising is usually takes between one to two weeks. Call Berkeley Eye Center today to schedule your appointment!