Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

Please read our important medical disclaimer.

Question:
I have a question regarding a problem my mother is having. She is 61 years old and has had one of her eyes lacrimating for months. She had been visited by many ophthalmologists as well as Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists and no progress was gained despite using different prescriptions. Then they diagnosed a possible polyp around her nose or eye area which gets bigger when exposed to allergens. Her eye’s constant wetness has made her frustrated so she saw an allergy specialist. Despite using antihistamines, the problem still exists. Do you know what’s causing this?

Answer:
She most likely has an obstruction in the tear outflow plumbing leading from the eye to the nose. It is far more common in middle-aged to elderly women and she fits that mold. A polyp could obstruct the opening inside the nose, but if it were at that location, the ENT doctor would most likely have removed it. You probably have closure of the canal from the sac that collects tears next to the nose and drains into the nose. Less likely would be narrowing of the canal from the lid opening (the punctum) draining tears into the sac. You should see an oculoplastic surgeon who can do a test for tear obstruction and recommend proper treatment.

Answered by: Richard Bensinger, MD Dr. Richard Bensinger

Categories: Eye Conditions

Have a question that hasn't been answered yet? Ask it!

Answered: Jun 13, 2013

Pop needs to be configured.