Preparing for your appointment

You may start by seeing your primary care doctor. He or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in treating disorders of the eye (ophthalmologist). In some instances, your eye doctor may refer you to someone who specializes in ophthalmic plastic surgery for the eye.

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

Before your appointment make a list of:

  • Symptoms you've been having, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment
  • All medications, vitamins and supplements you take, including doses
  • Any eyedrops that you've been taking
  • Questions to ask your doctor

For a blocked tear duct, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes?
  • Do I need any tests?
  • How long will my condition last?
  • What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
  • What side effects can I expect from treatment?
  • 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?
  • Do you have any brochures or other printed materials that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • 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 used any eyedrops for this problem?
  • 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?
Aug. 18, 2017
  1. Riordan-Eva P, et al. Lids and lacrimal apparatus. In: Vaughan & Asbury's General Ophthalmology. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. Accessed Dec. 16, 2015.
  2. Dantas RRA. Lacrimal drainage system obstruction. Seminars in Ophthalmology. 2010; 25:98.
  3. Cohen NA, et al. Prevention and management of lacrimal duct injury. Otolaryngology Clinics of North America. 2010;43:781.
  4. Dacryostenosis. Merck Manual Professional Version. Accessed Dec. 16, 2015.
  5. Nasolacrimal duct obstruction. American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. Accessed Dec. 16, 2015.
  6. Yanoff M, et al., eds. The lacrimal drainage system. In: Ophthalmology. 4th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. Accessed Dec. 16, 2015.
  7. Karim R, et al. A comparison of external and endoscopic endonasal dacryocystorhinostomy for acquired nasolacrimal duct obstruction. Clinical Ophthalmology. 2011;5:979.
  8. Conjunctivitis. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Accessed May 19, 2015.
  9. AskMayoExpert. Conjunctivitis. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
  10. Tearing (epiphora). Merck Manual Professional Version. Accessed June 4, 2015.
  11. Tearing. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Accessed June 4, 2015.
  12. Blocked tear duct. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Accessed Dec. 17, 2015.
  13. Paysse EA, et al. Congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction (dacryostenosis) and dacryosystocele. Accessed Dec. 17, 2015.
  14. Patient information: Blocked tear duct. Accessed Dec. 17, 2015.
  15. Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group. Balloon catheter dilation and nasolacrimal duct intubation for treatment of nasolacrimal duct obstruction after failed probing. Archives of Ophthalmology. 2009;127:633.
  16. Robertson DM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 10, 2016.