Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You'll probably first visit your primary care physician for a blocked tear duct. However, you may then be referred to a doctor who specializes in treating disorders of the eye (ophthalmologist). In some instances, your general ophthalmologist may refer you to an ophthalmologist who specializes in ophthalmic plastic surgery.

Because appointments can be brief, and there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to arrive prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready, and know what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help make the most of your appointment. For a blocked tear duct, some basic questions to ask include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
  • Is this condition temporary or long lasting?
  • What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
  • What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
  • Is this condition related to another medical disorder?
  • If I don't have anything done to correct this problem, what are the risks to my vision?

What to expect from your doctor

At your appointment, your doctor will gather a history of your eye symptoms and ask questions related to the causes of blocked tear ducts, as well as other conditions that can cause watery, irritated eyes. When you go to see your doctor, he or she may ask:

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • Do you experience your symptoms all the time, or do they come and go?
  • Does anything relieve your symptoms?
  • Have you had any previous surgery to your eyes or eyelid?
  • Have you had facial trauma, injuries, radiation treatment or surgery?
  • Have you ever had any facial nerve conditions, such as Bell's palsy?
  • Do you have any medical problems, such as diabetes or long-standing skin disorders, such as atopic dermatitis?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder?
  • Do you use contact lenses? Have you used contacts in the past?
Feb. 13, 2013