Tear duct blockage in babies is a very common problem as this happens because their tear duct has not developed properly. When there is a blockage in the tiny ducts that drain tears from the corners of the eyes to the nose it causes tear duct blockage. This problem wears off when the tear duct develops fully within few weeks or in few months.
Tear duct blockage or nasolacrimal duct is a common problem in newborn babies as this occurs due to underdeveloped tear ducts in babies. As the baby grows this develops fully and the problem goes off with time.
The tears are naturally produced on the surface of our eyes to keep them moist and prevent the damage to the sensitive surface of the eyes. Tears also prevent the dust and dirt to enter into our eyes.
Blinking leads to spreading of tears all over the surface of the eyes and when there is excess tear then that drains into our nose through the duct that is placed in the inner corner of the eyes. When there is a blockage in the tear duct of the babies, it might cause watery eyes in them.
Tear duct blockage might occur in one eye or both the eyes causing teary eyes of the babies. Tears might run down the cheeks of your baby in this case and eyes might get teary even when the baby is not crying.
Tear duct blockage might cause little white or yellow discharge on the eyelids of your baby and this might lead to sticky eyes, your baby will face difficulty in opening up his eyes. In this case, you can take a very soft cotton cloth, moist it with water, remove the excess water and then very gently clean the eyelids of your baby.
There are certain symptoms that show your baby’s tear duct is blocked and you should be aware of these symptoms. The first symptom will be watery eyes tears will be present in your baby’s eyes even when he is not crying. Either one or both the eyes will become watery in this case.
Sometimes you might notice sticky white or yellow discharge on the eyelids of your baby usually after your baby wakes up from sleep. There might be a problem in opening the eyes due to this stickiness.
There might be slight redness in the eyes as well but that will keep appearing and disappearing with time as well. In this case, no treatment is required as such. The eye might appear to be red or inflamed but there is nothing serious in this case.
There might be swelling in the inner corner of the eyes and redness as well and this condition is called dacryocystitis. This happens due to infection in the tear sac which carries tears from the eyes to the nose.
In this case sometimes when there is light then your baby might have a problem in opening the eyes so she avoids opening up the eyes easily. Your baby may also rub his eyelids or eyes a lot in this case. So looking at the discomfort of your baby you can seek doctor’s help.
Though tear duct blockage is cured within few weeks of the birth of your baby, it varies from baby to baby. This might continue for few weeks or months as well. Do not go harsh on the eyes or eyelids of your baby as it is a very sensitive area.
A simple massage on the tear duct area of your baby will help in draining out the tears easily and you can also put little pressure on the outward part of your baby’s nose and then give a gentle stroke on the downwards point of the nose. Do this 5-8 times in a day to clear the excess tears that occur in the eyes due to blockage.
Use a gentle and moist cloth for cleaning up the sticky discharge that appears at the corner of the eyes. You can use sterile water for the same or boiled water that has been cooled down. Some eye drops might be suggested by the doctor.
If the tear duct is blocked by 12 months of age then, the doctor may perform a simple procedure for opening up the tear duct of your baby. There is a very thin instrument that is passed through the tear duct of your baby to open up the blockage.
Usually, this problem of tear duct blockage goes off on its own in the babies but if it takes time then you can use the prescribed antibiotic drops suggested by the doctor or refer to a specialist to minimize the discomfort in your baby that is caused by tear duct blockage.