Tear Ducts


Tear ducts, also known as lacrimal ducts, are small channels present in the corner of the eye that help drain tears from the surface of the eye.


The tear ducts are part of the lacrimal system, which consists of the lacrimal gland, lacrimal canaliculi, lacrimal sac, and nasolacrimal duct. The upper and lower tear ducts, also called the puncta, are located at the inner corner of the eye, near the nose.


The tear ducts play a crucial role in maintaining eye health by draining tears that contain waste products, foreign particles, and excess moisture from the eye’s surface. Tears are continuously produced by the lacrimal gland and spread across the eye with each blink. The excess tears are directed towards the puncta, where they enter the canaliculi and travel to the lacrimal sac. From there, tears pass through the nasolacrimal duct and into the nasal cavity, where they are eventually swallowed or expelled through the nose as mucus.


Healthy tear ducts are essential for proper tear drainage, preventing tears from excessively pooling on the surface of the eye. Dysfunction or blockage of the tear ducts can lead to excessive tearing (epiphora) or dry eye syndrome, which can cause eye discomfort, blurred vision, and eye infections. Additionally, problems with tear drainage can be a symptom of underlying ocular or systemic diseases that require medical attention.