The tear ducts sit near corner of the eyelids, closest to the nose. At times, the duct, called the lacrimal duct, has a blockage, and a person may have excessive tearing and frequent eye infections. The blockage may result from poorly formed ducts in infants or an infection, injury or medication use. Some people require medical treatment for the blockage, but others may obtain relief from simple home remedies.
At birth, or shortly after, parents may learn their child has a blocked tear duct. In the case of infants, this usually stems from incomplete formation of the lacrimal duct. Some parents may elect to wait, and see if the duct and drainage improve with time. After a few months, the child's ducts may mature or open up, says the Mayo Clinic. If a child has severe pain, irritation or eye infections from the blocked tear duct, a parent should discuss other options with the baby's pediatrician.
For some people, gently massaging the nasal corner of the eye a few times daily may help break up the blockage, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. This works particularly well with infants, but some adults may achieve some relief through massage.
A warm compress held against the inside corner of the eye may also help break up the blockage in the duct, says KidsHealth from Nemours. A washcloth dampened with warm water makes a simple, but useful, compress. If using massage to help the blocked tear duct, a compress held against the site for a few minutes before the massage may help loosen the matter.