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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3343
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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New born with a clogged tear duct, at what age will this clear

Resolved Question:

New born with a clogged tear duct, at what age will this clear upand what should be the next step if it does not clear up by that age?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 6 years ago.
Hello and thanks for your question. I'm here to help you with your concern. As you read this I will be typing my response to your question.
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 6 years ago.

So research has shown that the vast majority of these clear up either spontaneously or with the help of the Crigler massages (the massages of the lacrimal sac on the side of the nose that you've been doing) by 12 months. For many years it was thought that if they didn't clear by 12 months of age that they weren't going to clear. However, newer research has shown that of the ones that don't clear by 12 months, most of these will clear spontaneously in the next 12 months after that.


Now, as a parent, I can understand the angst of having my child's eye goopy all of the time and possibly even needing antibiotic drops periodically if the secretions become infected and how much that becomes difficult. That being said, I like to give these as much time as possible to clear up spontaneously, knowing that consistent use of Crigler massage will help hasten resolution. The massages should be firm pressure with one finger on the side of the nose from just above the joining of the eyelids to the nose, to just below it; this should be 10 strokes, 4x/day.


If it does not resolve then the child needs to have their lacrimal system dilated, probed, and irrigated. Years ago, this kind of procedure was done in the office, but now the kids are put to sleep under general anesthesia for this procedure. The procedure itself takes about 10-15 minutes and is a relatively safe procedure as far as risks of complications and side effects. Generally, the biggest risk that is being taken by doing this procedure is putting the child under general anesthesia, which is why I like to wait as long as possible for resolution.


That being said, if the child's parent wishes to have it done after 12 months, then I think that is reasonable.


Does this information help address your concerns? Does this make sense? Do you have any other concerns that I haven't addressed?


I am happy to be able to help you today. I will also be happy to answer any other questions until you have the information you need.


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My opinion is solely informative and does not constitute a formal medical opinion or recommendation. For a formal medical opinion and/or recommendation you must see an eye doctor.

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