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I think I have a blocked or infected tear duct. Not sure though because my eye keeps watering. Out of no where, my eye will water and then I go to wipe it (similar to removing an eye boogie)and it will burn and feels like my sinus is burning on that side. I can feel in the corner of my eye that the duct is about 2 to 3 times the size of the other eye. This started roughly 4 days ago. The burning started about 2 days ago. I noticed the swelling today. What do I need to do to fix this?

The symptoms you describe of feeling your eyes watering up to a state of overflow is known as “epiphora” and is a common presentation of nasolacrimal duct obstruction resulting in the inability to drain tears from your eyes. The condition is relatively common but more prevalent in females then males because women tend to have a smaller caliber tear duct. There are numerous causes of duct obstruction and include trauma, local inflammation, infection, medical side effects, as well as neoplasm.

Nasolacrimal duct obstructions should be treated promptly to avoid any long term problems. A proper work-up includes an evaluation by a qualified physician or opthalmologist before initiating treatment. Imaging studies can be performed such as a CT-scan or X-rays with dye injection to visualize the duct architecture.

Treatment ranges from conservative to surgical and depends on the severity of your symptoms. Typically, a warm compress applied to the affected corner of the eye for 20 minutes five times a day can open up the duct in mild cases of nasolacrimal duct obstruction. Antibiotics either topical or systemic can treat bacterial infections. Finally, if conservative measures fail, then surgical intervention would become necessary.

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