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Tears normally drain through two small openings in the eyelids and enter the nose through the nasolacrimal duct.  If the duct is obstructed, the tears will not drain into the nose causing a backflow of tears and discharge from the eye.


Nasolacrimal duct (tear duct) obstruction is very common, and approximately 7 percent children are born with the condition.  Fortunately, 95 percent of children will outgrow the condition by the age of 12 to 14 months.


While waiting for the condition to resolve spontaneously, the discharge can be simply removed by a warm cloth or cotton pad.  Sometimes nasolacrimal duct massages are recommended if the discharge is excessive.  Antibiotic drops are also sometimes prescribed.


If the child is over 14 months old, a nasolacrimal duct probing may be necessary.  This is done with a brief general anesthetic as an outpatient procedure with the child going home the same morning as the procedure.  The surgeons at UCEC use an advanced technique to give a success rate of over 97 percent in children under the age of 24 months with nasolacrimal duct obstructions.

To learn more about blocked tear duct surgery, please click below.

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