Chemo-Related Tearing Leads to Serious Complications


The experience of dealing with cancer is frightening enough for those fighting for their lives, but it is an unfortunate reality that survivors may still have to deal with long lasting complications that can arise from treatment.

One of these issues that the personal injury lawyers of Hotze Runkle have been closely following is related to the chemotherapy drug known as Taxotere. During the course of chemotherapy treatment, the drug causes permanent closure of the patient’s tear ducts. In turn, the patient develops excessive tearing (epiphora), discharge, and other eye-related complications.

While the drug manufacturer, Sanofi, warned of “excessive tearing”, it failed to mention that the closure of the tear ducts and tearing could become permanent. Sadly, breast cancer survivors all across the nation are dealing with these after effects, which are at times made worse by various surgeries intended to resolve the health problems.

If you believe you are the victim of chemo-related tearing and permanently shut tear ducts, know that there is a team of attorneys ready to fight for you. The Hotze Runkle firm is committed to working on behalf of individuals who have been victimized and hurt by drug manufacturers who put profit before people.

Please consider the following information regarding issues related to blocked tear ducts and the complications that can arise from surgery to correct it.

What to Know About Blocked Tear Ducts

Blocked tear ducts can happen for a number of reasons including age-related changes, infection in the eyes, tear drainage system and/or nose, trauma, or – in the situation of the Taxotere victims – as a side effect of chemotherapy medication.

It is vital that individuals dealing with a blocked tear duct understand the symptoms associated with the condition. Catching the following signs early can help prevent further damage:

  • Excessive tearing
  • Recurring inflammation and infection
  • Pain and swelling in the inside corner of the eye
  • Long lasting redness
  • Crusting of the eyelids
  • Blurred vision
  • Mucus or pus buildup and  discharge
  • Bloody tears

Because the patient’s tears are not draining properly, they remain in the tear duct drainage system. This leads to the growth of bacteria, viruses, and fungi within the tear drainage system and the clear membrane over your eye surface, which can in turn lead to inflammation or infections that require prompt medical attention and treatment.

Issues Arising From Tear Duct-Related Surgery and Jones Tubes

One of the recommendations often made to help ease the issues associated with a blocked tear duct is a delicate procedure. For individuals who undergo this surgery, surgeons experienced in lacrimal surgery (i.e. surgeons that know how to operate on tear ducts) place a thin tube of toughened glass that runs from their eye, near the blocked tear ducts, to the inside of the nose. These tubes are known as Lester Jones tubes, permanent, and are designed to drain the tears from the eyes through the nose.

Unfortunately, the Jones tubes are prone to issues. Problems associated with Lester Jones tubes include:

  • Dislodgement: The tube can shift within the eye and come out partially or even completely. This can require a trip to the hospital and surgery.
  • Blockage of the tube: The tube can become coated with protein, mucus, and other substances that stop the flow of tears along the tube. When this occurs, a new tube is generally required.
  • Inflammation: The tubes can shift into lower levels of tissues and become inflamed masses.
  • Pain: Patients have reported eye pain as air pushes through the small openings in the tubes or as the tubes migrate and begin to push against portions of the nasal system.

This “solution” is not always ideal for patients, and thus victims of chemotherapy medications like Taxotere deal with additional complications that the manufacturing company failed to warn them of.

If you or your loved ones have suffered health complications as result of chemotherapy drugs, do not hesitate to seek out legal support to obtain the care and guidance of the experienced product liability lawyers at Hotze Runkle.

Contact us today at (512) 476-7771 or (877) 919-0830 to schedule a consultation. At Hotze Runkle, we don’t demand your trust, we earn it.