Help for Childrens’ Tear Duct Problems

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Help for Childrens’ Tear Duct Problems

About Childrens’ Tear Duct Problems
Normally, tears drain through tiny openings in the corners of the upper and lower eyelids called “puncta,” then enter the nose through the nasolacrimal duct. Sometimes the nasolacrimal duct or tear duct is blocked or obstructed during infancy, or becomes obstructed later, making it impossible for the tears to drain normally. This can cause the eyes to run water or even produce a discharge. Often, the tears well up on the surface of the eye and overflow onto the eyelashes, eyelids, and down the cheek. This usually occurs within the first days or weeks of life.

Sometimes, the eyelids can become red and swollen, even stuck together with yellowish-green discharge since the normal eyelid bacteria are not properly "flushed" down the obstructed system. Probably the most common cause of a tear duct obstruction in kids is a failure of the membrane at the end of the tear duct opening to open fully at the time of birth. Generally we see this happening in some 5-10% of newborn infants where one or both eyes is affected with a tear duct obstruction - BUT some 90% of cases clear without any treatment with the first 12 months after birth.

Treatment of Kids’ Tear Duct Obstruction
As most of the time the obstruction will clear on its own, we don’t always have to treat it. But, if it persists and causes the welling up of tears or the sticking or redness of the eyelids, we suggest a gentle massage as a first step and prescribe antibiotic eye drops if necessary. Sometimes we will need to do a tear duct probing to clear the blockage and in a some more difficult situations we might need to perform a tear duct dilation with a tiny balloon or even insert some microscopic tubes.

As a Pediatric Ophthalmologist I do these types of treatments as a matter of routine and, as a parent, I will make sure to thoroughly explain them and answer all of your questions if they become necessary.

If you or someone you know has questions or concerns about childrens tear duct problems or needs a kids eye exam, please call Doctor & Associates-203-227-4113, visit Doctor & Associates in Fairfield County, Google+ or to schedule an appointment. 

Doctor & Associates offices are located at 129 Kings Highway North, Westport, Connecticut 06880, 195 Danbury Road, Wilton, Connecticut 06897 and 148 East Avenue, Norwalk, Connecticut 06851.