Tear duct diseases

"With the different treatment alternatives we have today, these problems are solved in a very satisfactory way".


Tearing or epiphora is a relatively common problem and represents one of the most frequent symptoms referred by patients who come to an ophthalmology practice.

The tear drainage system is called the lacrimal duct. The normal tear drainage pathway originates in the inner canthus of the palpebral fissure near the nose. From there, two small tubes called tear ducts start.

These originate in the upper and lower eyelids, and drain into the lacrimal sac, a structure located in close relation to the nostrils and sinuses.

The tear sac drains directly into the nose through the tear duct. 

What are the symptoms of tear duct problems?

The most frequent affectation of the lacrimal duct is obstruction, which can be congenital (from birth), or occur over the years.

  • Congenital: it can be resolved spontaneously or by means of a lacrimal catheterization.
  • Acquired: it can only be treated surgically and is called dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR). This means creating a new route for the tears that goes from the tear sac to the nose, avoiding the obstructed tear duct. It is an outpatient surgery that in the vast majority of cases is performed under local anesthesia with sedation.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Tearing (epiphora).
  • Nasal drip.
  • Increased frequency of conjunctivitis.

Do you have any of these symptoms?

You may have a tear duct disease

How are problems with tears treated?

The classic approach in dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR) is performed through an incision of approximately 1 cm. in the skin of the internal canthus. Through it, the tear sac and the nose are accessed, creating the new pathway. The external RCD has the disadvantage of a small scar and a somewhat slower recovery than with endoscopic techniques.

The endoscopic approach through the nose obtains results very similar to the external surgery with the advantage of being a shorter surgery, without scar and with a faster recovery.

In both approaches a small silicone probe is placed through the new tear duct that we have created in order to keep the duct open during the healing process. This tube is removed between 6 and 10 weeks after surgery.

Another approach to RCD is to create the new pathway using a small laser probe through the tear ducts (transcanalytic).

Where do we treat them?


The Department of Ophthalmology
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Equipped with the latest technology, the Department of Ophthalmology has the necessary equipment, both technical and human, to offer comprehensive and specific assistance to each patient.

We are one of the few centers that have a microsurgery laboratory for the improvement of clinical practice.

Organized in specialized units

  • Cornea and eye surface
  • Retina
  • General Ophthalmology
  • Refraction defects
  • Oculoplastic
  • Pediatric ophthalmology
Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • More than 30 years of experience.
  • Experts in the diagnosis and treatment of ocular pathologies.
  • With the security and guarantee of a prestigious hospital.

Our team of professionals