Nasolacrimal obstruction or tear duct blockage affects as many as 20% newborns, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. This condition results in backflow of tears and discharge from the eye. This promotes the growth of bacteria, viruses and fungi that can cause recurrent eye infections.
Read on as your eye doctor in Alderwood Optical discusses how tear duct obstruction can affect an infant.
Nasolacrimal obstruction is one of the most common tear duct system disorders among infants. It’s often a congenital eye problem caused by tear duct defects that affect tear draining. It can also be caused by chronic infection or inflammation of the eyes, tear drainage system or nose. A tumor in the nose or anywhere along the tear drainage system can also lead to tear duct blockage.
Children with tear duct obstruction may experience excessive watering of the eyes, most especially in chilly or windy conditions. The eye discharge, also known as mattering or rheum, may appear watery or as a combination of mucus and pus, depending on the where the blockage occurs. These signs may start to manifest by the time a baby is three weeks old. Visit your local optometrist or eye doctor if your child displays these signs.
Typically, clogged tear ducts resolve without treatment within the first year of a child’s life. Eye specialists may suggest massaging of the tear sac, a conservative treatment method that forces fluid through the tear ducts. Some cases, however, do not improve over time without treatment. To eliminate the blockage, an eye doctor will perform surgical probing. This involves inserting a medical instrument into the tear duct to remove the obstruction.
Turn to Alderwood Optical for your eye health and optical care needs. Call us today at (425) 771-8472 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment. We serve residents of Bothell, WA, and nearby areas.