Blocked tear duct/ Sticky eyes in babies and young children

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What is blocked tear duct?

Tear duct (Nasolacrimal duct) is a small tube that drains tears from the eyes. A blockage in this tube prevents the tears from draining and causes persistent watering from a child’s eyes or have repeated episodes of stickiness. Blocked tear duct affects approximately 6% of newborns and is the most common cause of persistent tearing and sticky eyes in infants and young children.

What is the normal drainage of tears?

Tears are predominantly produced by the tear-producing (lacrimal) gland. The tears drain down small channels called canaliculi on the inner part of each eyelid into a tear sac. From the tear sac they flow down through the Tear duct (Nasolacrimal duct) into the nose.

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Can there be other causes for watery eyes in my child?

Yes, there can be other causes of watery eyes in children. They can be common conditions such as eye infections, lid problems or allergy. Rarely uncommon causes like congenital glaucoma can cause watery eyes in a newborn. Your consultant would conduct a detailed examination to arrive at the appropriate diagnosis at your appointment.

How is blocked tear duct treated/ What can I do to help?

Most cases resolve spontaneously by 12-15 months of age. Your doctor may demonstrate and advise performing lacrimal sac massaging in a specific way, which would help in resolving the blocked tear duct early. However, if the symptoms do not resolve, a procedure called syringe and probing will be needed. This is done under general anaesthetic (your child will be asleep).

What is the success rate of syringe and probing?

Syringe and probing have a success rate of 80-90%. Occasionally, a second attempt at syringe and probing is required for the procedure to be successful. Rarely, syringe and probing will not be enough and your child will require further operations, such as placement of a stent (small tube).

Who will perform my child’s procedure?

All procedures at Cheshire ClearVision Eye care are personally performed by the Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmic Surgeon, Mr Bhamy H Shenoy who has vast experience in managing these cases.

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