Can blocked tear ducts occur in children and adults?

Yes. Both children and adults can have a blocked tear duct. About 5% children are born with a blocked duct. 98% of these open spontaneously by the time the child is one year of age. In adults, chronic tearing may be a sign of a blocked duct. This may be caused by chronic infections, inflammation, growths or even stones.

How are blocked ducts treated?

In children, the duct is probed with a very fine wire which may open the blocked canal. Sometimes it is necessary to place a small, clear, plastic tube through the duct to keep it open. In adults, a procedure called a dacryocystorhinostomy is performed. This outpatient surgery is used to create a new opening between the tear sac and the nose bypassing the blocked duct.