Swollen tear ducts can occur in adults of any age. The swelling is caused when there is a blockage in the tear duct, which makes it easier for inflammation and infection to form. These blockages can be caused by multiple factors.
Infection of Tear Drainage System
An infection in the tear ducts can cause a blockage that leads to swelling.
Age-Related Eyelid Changes
As one gets older, the eyelids can change and become lax. That can cause a blockage of the tear ducts, which can lead to infection.
Injuries to the bones of the nose or face can put pressure on the drainage system, changing its anatomy and possibly blocking the proper drainage of tears.
Tumors in the nose, the sinuses or the tear drainage system can cause blockages as they get larger.
Stones in the Tear Drainage System
Infections or topical eye medications--like those for glaucoma--may cause small stones to form in the drainage system, leading to blockages of the tear duct.
Complications of Nasal Surgery
After nasal surgery with manipulation of the bone, the tear ducts can become narrow and lead to blockages and possibly infection.