Congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction is a condition that may be present at birth and prevents the tears from draining out of the eyes properly. Tears usually drain through small openings in the corners of the eyelids (also known as puncta) and enter the nose through the nasolacrimal duct. If the obstruction does not clear up by the time the child is one-year-old, minor surgery may be recommended to relieve the obstruction. The surgeons of Oculoplastic Associates of Texas are skilled and experienced at pediatric tear duct surgery for children in the Dallas and Plano areas to surgically remove the blockage and open the tear ducts.
Once the doctor has confirmed the child has a tear duct blockage that needs surgical intervention, the operation will be scheduled and performed at an accredited pediatric surgical facility. The most common type of pediatric tear duct surgeries takes about 10 minutes with the child under anesthesia as the doctor passes a soft probe through the tear duct and into the nose to open any obstruction within the path. Sterile saline is then used to irrigate and clean the opened duct. Your surgeon will recommend which type of treatment is best for your child.
Most children show little to no signs of discomfort after the procedure when the anesthesia wears off. Parents will be given an antibiotic ointment or eye drops and specific instructions to help their child heal properly. Most pediatric tear duct surgeries are successful and improve the child’s symptoms within a week, but some children may need a second surgery.
If a child has a blocked tear duct, the tears may well up on the surface of the child’s eye and overflow on the eyelashes and eyelids. The eyelids may also become red and swollen with yellow or green discharge.
Nasolacrimal duct obstruction is a common condition that affects more than 5% of all infants and is present at birth. Most nasolacrimal duct obstructions clear on their own during the first year of life.
If noticed early, parents can take certain measures to try and clear the obstruction without surgery. The parent can sometimes use daily tear duct massages and antibiotic eye drops to relieve discharge. Usually, if the infection does not clear up before the child’s first birthday, tear duct surgery may be recommended.