ZocdocAnswersCan you get an infection in your tear ducts?

Question

Can you get an infection in your tear ducts?

This is strange but I think my tear ducts might be infected. My eyes only hurt and sting when they are watering, which happens a lot to me when I wake up in the morning. Can you get an infection in your tears like that?

Answer

It is possible to get an infection in your tear ducts. In order for this to happen, you must have some sort of obstruction in the nasolacrimal duct. This is the duct or tube that carries tears and other secretions from the eye down into the nose. If this gets obstructed, the fluid builds up and becomes stagnant. This can allow for bacteria to build up and cause an infection. When you start to feel these symptoms, one of the first things you can do is place a warm compress over the painful area. Sometimes the warm compress can open up the duct and allow for the infection to naturally flow out. If this does not work, then a search for the cause of the obstruction needs to occur. On the other hand, you may just have an infected outer lining of the eye called conjunctivitis. This can cause burning that can get worse with tears. The first step for you to is to figure out if an infected tear duct is actually what you have. You can do this by scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician for an examination of your affected area. If an infected duct is present, and you have tried the warm compress idea, then it is possible that your doctor will refer you to an ophthalmologist or an ear nose and throat doctor depending on where the suspected problem lies (in the eye or in the nose). Good luck.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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