Back to Reconstructive Surgery

Tearing Problems

Excessive tearing is often due to a blockage of the nasolacrimal duct (the main drainage duct from the eye to the nose). When the system is infected, it is called dacryocystitis. The most common symptoms of a blocked nasolacrimal duct are frequent tearing and a mucous discharge in the eye. At times, the eyelids will be stuck together in the morning. A tender area is sometimes present in the area between the eye and the nose.

Other causes of excessive tearing include closure of the puncta (the drainage hole in the eyelid) from inflammation, pollution, and certain prescription eyedrops.  In addition, the delicate lacrimal canaliculi (tubules in the eyelids) can be damaged by cancer chemotherapy agents (especially Taxotere and 5-FU), trauma, or the intracanalicular Herrick or SmartPlugs sometimes used for dry eye.  The normal tear outflow system delivers the tears to the nose, and so the final cause for watery eyes is sometimes found in the nose where a mass or lesion is blocking the system.

Consultation with Dr. Fante will usually involve examination of all aspects of the tear drainage system, including probing and irrigation of the tear ducts and endoscopic evaluation of the nose under topical anesthesia in the office.

Once a diagnosis has been established, surgery can often be planned to resolve or prevent these problems so that tears flow normally into the nose.  Certain minor procedures can be performed in the office with local anesthesia, but repair often requires an ambulatory surgery center or hospital and regional or general anesthesia.

Dr. Fante has recently published the largest series ever reported in the peer-reviewed medical literature of patients who had endoscopic dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR), the surgery used to repair blocked tear ducts.  His extensive experience makes it highly likely that surgery will be successful.

Schedule a consultation

If you are interested in treatment for tearing problems, contact our Denver office today! Call (303) 839-1616 to schedule a consultation with facial plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Fante.