Blocked Tear Ducts in Babies

There are cases when the one of even both eyes of new-born babies become sticky and watery especially after sleep. Considered to be normal and quite common, this can go without the need for any treatment.

Causes of Blocked Tear Duct

The tear duct is a small tube that travels to the inside of the nose from the inner eye corner. Tears are constantly produced in order to maintain eye moistness. Draining of the tears is usually done via the tear duct. If the eyes become watery, the tear duct could be blocked. In babies, the most common reason for this is a delay in development and opening of tear ducts.

How Blocked Tear Ducts Get Better

One out of five 5 new-born babies has under-developed tear ducts affecting one or even both eyes. When the tear ducts fully develops, the blockage usually disappears. In most cases, full development are achieved a couple of weeks after being born. Some babies will take months before their tear ducts fully develop. If after 12 months there is still blockage, the child should be checked by an eye specialist to inspect the blocked tear duct.

Is a Blocked Tear Duct Serious?

Health experts believe that this condition is not serious at all. Typically, a new born baby will need a couple of weeks for their tear production to start. For this reason, watery eyes are not observed. After some time, you might notice some watering of the eyes although your baby is not bothered by it. This indicates that the tear ducts are not yet fully-developed. Within a couple of weeks, the watery eyes will be gone and could only return if the baby has a cold.

What You Should Do

Parents need not worry if their child has blocked tear ducts since the condition is temporary. Simply remove the gluey material from the eyes with some moistened cotton. Massaging the tear ducts at least four times a day might hasten its development. Just apply gentle pressure near the tear duct and along the nose to clear the pooled tears and unblock the tear duct.

Problems Associated with Blocked Tear Ducts

You might probably observe some slight redness of the eyes which can be due to the mild inflammation. Treatment is not needed for this complication. In some cases, conjunctivitis might develop which will also cause redness and inflammation. Again, this should not be something to worry about since it could be cured by antibiotic in the form of eye drops.

It is very rare that watery eyes are caused by other conditions other than blocked tear ducts. Remember that this eye condition will not cause any discomfort to your baby. Symptoms you should watch out for that might indicate a serious problem include:

  • Redness and inflammation of the eyes
  • Discomfort of the baby
  • Sensitivity to light of the baby

Important notice