Tears are made in a gland located in the upper, outer corner of the eye. The tears then coat the eye and drain via the inner corner of the eye, through the nose and down into the throat. A blockage anywhere in the passage will result in tearing or infection.
If you suffer from persistent tearing alone without infection you may benefit from a procedure called nasolacrimal duct probing with stent insertion. This procedure is performed either in the office or in an operating room under local anesthesia. Increasing sized probes are inserted in the normal tear passageway until it is fully dilated. In order to prevent the passage from becoming blocked again, a soft plastic tube is placed during surgery. This tube does not actually drain tears and will remain in place for 6-9 weeks. It will be easily removed in the office.
If you have had eye infections due to your tear blockage or if the above procedure fails, you may require a procedure called a dacryocystorhinostomy, or DCR. The purpose of this surgery is to by-pass the blockage and to create a new passage for the tears. This is done under general anesthesia. A small opening in the nasal bone is created either by making a small skin incision or going through the nose. A tube is placed in the new passage to keep it open. The tube is then tied and stitched to the inside of the nose. This is removed in the office in about 6 months.