Blocked Tear Ducts in Infants

Blocked Tear Ducts in InfantsWhen your baby wakes up with a little crust around her eyes, it may seem normal once or twice. But if it continues to happen several times a day or if you notice a pus-like substance coming from her eyes, she may have blocked tear ducts. Blocked tear ducts in infants is very common and treatable. Today we’re exploring why blocked tear ducts in infants occurs and how resolve the problem.

Causes and Symptoms of Blocked Tear Ducts in Infants

Like many parts of your baby, her tear ducts are very tiny at birth. It is common for babies, especially newborns, to develop blocked tear ducts. Often the tear ducts fail to open adequately because the skin forming them is so thin. Although rare, sometimes the nasal bone or undeveloped openings in the corners of the eyes can cause the clog. When tear ducts are blocked they cannot drain tears properly which can lead to infection.

Blocked tear ducts are most common in infants and occur in approximately 6 of every 100 babies. Watery eyes or big tears are a sign of blocked tear ducts in infants. Additionally, a yellowish or whitish discharge in the corner of the eye (which may crust over) or redness and puffiness around the eyes are symptoms too. Usually blocked tear ducts do not cause fever unless they are severely infected. Symptoms usually present within days or weeks of birth.

Ways Parents can Resolve Blocked Tear Ducts in Infants

Often blocked tear ducts in infants clear up on their own with just a little help from parents. If you notice your baby has a blocked tear duct, you can try the following home remedies:

  • Wipe the corner of the eyes clean with a warm washcloth or cotton ball several times a day.
  • Massage the area gently to encourage the tear ducts to open. Use a circular motion turning towards the nose.
  • Rub a few drops of breast milk into the area. Breast milk has incredible healing powers!
  • Protect your baby’s face from wind, smoke and sunlight.

*Always ensure your hands are thoroughly clean before touching your baby’s eyes.

Procedures to Resolve Blocked Tear Ducts in Infants

For blocked tear ducts that do not resolve with home remedies, doctors can perform a probing procedure. This works on around 80% of babies with blocked tear ducts. For extreme cases, surgery may be necessary. If blocked tear ducts cause an infection, antibiotics may be necessary to clear it up.

Sources: WebMD and Parenting