Nasolacrimal duct obstruction occurs if there is irritation or infection that results to permanent blockage of the duct. It is important to note that tears normally leave the eye via tiny openings on the edges of the eyelids. After moving into these gaps, the fluid seeps into the nose via the nasolacrimal ducts.
It is not unusual for an infant to be born before these ducts are fully open. This does not have any effect apart from watery eyes and most children outgrow it. The condition is considered serious if tear accumulates within the nasolacrimal duct.
What are the indications?
If a child has overflowing tears, it might be an indication of nasolacrimal duct obstruction. The doctor will check for the following:
- Overflowing tears without irritation or redness of the eye
- Cloudy or yellowish fluid in the tears
Management of nasolacrimal duct obstruction
A thorough assessment is done by the doctor to determine if the child has a nasolacrimal duct obstruction and the appropriate treatment can be started.
In case the child has an obstruction, the doctor might suggest a simple treatment option. Apply a warm, moist towel or cloth on the affected eye several times throughout the day. The warm compress promotes drainage of the fluid within the nasolacrimal duct.
It is also beneficial to gently massage between the eye and nose using a clean finger. This also helps promote drainage of fluid as well as opening the closed region of the nasolacrimal duct.
Always bear in mind that it might last for up to a year for the nasolacrimal duct to become patent on its own. In case the nasolacrimal duct obstruction is responsible for other issues, the doctor might suggest a technique to open the duct specifically nasolacrimal duct probing, especially if it is infected.