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Tear ducts

The ducts which carry tears away from the eyes begin with lachrymal points, located at the edge of each eyelid, which lead to upper and lower lachrymal ducts that merge into a single duct, which leads to the lacrimal sac. From the sac, tears flow into the naso-lachrymal duct, eventually draining into the the nasal cavity.

Causes of tear duct blockage may include ocular ailments connected with the eye's defensive mechanisms, as well as laryngological disorders: inflammation of the nasal cavity and sinuses, polyps, nasal septum deviation, post-traumatic conditions, tumours, and post-operative complications.

Symptoms of tear duct blockage include excessive tearing, as well as reddening, swelling of the eyelids, and increased frequency of infections resulting from constant wiping of the eyes. The worst complication is the very painful inflammation of the lachrymal sac.

Permeability of the tear ducts can be checked on an out-patient basis, by rinsing them. The procedure is safe and painless.

A frequent problem of patients is what is known as dry eye syndrome.

Tears play an important role: they moisturise the surface of the eyeball, maintain its hygiene, supply nutrient substances, and protect against damage and infection. A shortage of them, or disturbance in their composition, leads to what is known as dry eye syndrome, which manifests itself in reddening of the eyes, burning, difficulty opening them in the morning, and a feeling of the presence of a foreign object.


At the Cracow Zooptica Ophthalmology Centre, we perform diagnosis and treatment of dry eye syndrome.

For patients suffering from troublesome tear deficiency, we recommend tear duct (punctal) plugs.