HomeHealth Topics A to ZBlocked Tear Duct (Nasolacrimal Duct Stenosis)
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Blocked Tear Duct (Nasolacrimal Duct Stenosis)

By Dr. Steinken

A significant number of infants develop tearing or crusting of one or both of their eyes in the first few weeks of life.  In the absence of infection, this often proves to be what is known as Nasolacrimal Duct Stenosis.

This occurs when the canal that drains the tears into the nose, is blocked, so the tears backflows, creating a wet-looking eyeball, eyelid crusting, or tearing down the cheek.  Antibiotic drops do not clear this because it is not an infection. 

What usually works is diligent massage of the Nasolacrimal duct, the opening of which is where the upper and lower eyelids meet at the inner nasal bridge.   Three sets of firm pushing down on this site three times a day acts like that of popping a water balloon, the pressure of the tears over comes the blocked tissue and flow of tears resumes in to the nose (that is why when a person cries they get a runny nose- tears run into the nose).

Most tear ducts open up through massage or spontaneously.  If the condition does not resolve itself by one year of age surgical probing may be necessary. 


Topics and Subtopics: Children's Health & Infant Care

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