Tear Duct Wash Out


Syringing Tear Ducts

Watering eyes (excess tears known as Epiphora) is a common condition which arises due to either excess tear production or a blockage to tear drainage. 

Hugo Henderson performing a procedure

Excess tear production can be due to many causes such as; Hay Fever, pink eye (Conjunctivitis), grit or a ‘foreign body’ in the eye, and injury or trauma.

Blockage to tear drainage can be caused by infections and injury causing scarring of the tear drainage ducts but most often no cause is found; it is ‘just part of life’s rich tapestry’. 

Watering and sticky eyes are common in new-born babies in whom it usually settles as the tear drainage ducts develop and is also common in later life. The tear ducts can be washed through to demonstrate a blockage and the location of any blockage, and sometimes to clear debris from the ducts and help the tears to drain properly again. This procedure is often called ‘syringing’ the tear ducts. It is painless and can be carried out at the initial examination with the patient sitting at the ‘slit lamp’ microscope.

Naturally, the tears drain through to the nose and so syringing is often combined with examination of the nasal passages (nasal endoscopy) another painless procedure that can be carried out at the initial examination.