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Blocked Tear Duct

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 6, 2023.

The tear duct is a small tube that helps your eye drain. A blocked tear duct means your tears do not drain correctly. When the tear duct becomes blocked, you may be at higher risk for eye infections.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • The swelling spreads to your cheek or nose.
  • You have trouble breathing.

Contact your healthcare provider or ophthalmologist if:

  • You have a red or blue bump on the inside corner of your eye.
  • The white part of your eye is red.
  • Your eye starts draining more pus.
  • Your eye does not improve with treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Clean and massage your eye 2 to 3 times every day or as directed:

Massage helps unblock the tear duct. This can decrease pain and swelling, and prevent an eye infection:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Wet a soft washcloth with warm water. Gently wipe any pus or dried crust out of your eye.
  • Place a warm compress on your eye. A warm compress can help decrease pain. It can also make it easier to unblock the tear duct. Use a small towel or gauze dipped in warm water. Leave the compress in place for 5 minutes.
  • Place your index finger on the side of your nose, near your eye. Use a mirror to help you find the correct place.
  • Press gently and slide your finger down toward the corner of your nose. You may see pus or fluid drain from the inside corner of your eye. This is normal.
  • Wipe away any pus or fluid that drains from the eye. Wash your hands.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or ophthalmologist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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