When my daughter Mehr was one month old we went for a routine check-up, to her pediatrician. Post the check-up the doctor said everything else is fine but I think your baby is having a Tear Duct blockage in her left eye. We were shocked to hear that. He helped us calm down and then explained the entire thing to us.
What are Tears?
Tears are the salty fluid which comes out of our eyes.The purpose of tears is to clean the eyes and to keep the surface of the eyes moist.In the normal coarse tears flow down the surface of the eyes and are drained through a small opening at the corner of the eye into the tear sac. From the tear sac, tears flow down a tube (Tear Duct) through the nose and down to the throat.
Many babies have this tear duct blocked since the time of birth. It can occur in one or both the eyes.
Symptoms of Tear Duct Blockage
- The blocked eye/s of the baby will look teary or watery.
- Even if the baby is not crying tears may flow down her cheek/s. This is because the duct is blocked and water cannot flow through the nose into the throat.
- Child will have mucus in the eye/s usually in the mornings or post naps. This sticky mucus will make it difficult to open the eyes.
- Sometimes the baby may also have a red eye if there is an infection.
Treatment for the Tear Duct Blockage
The doctor advised us to regularly massage her opening of the eye. That is, to massage the area between the nose and the opening of the eye in an upward position towards the forehead with the tip of our finger or thumb. Little pressure should be applied, keeping in mind the sensitivity of the eye/s.
This massage will slowly open up the blockage in the tear sac. This massage was supposed to done at least five-six times a day for a two-three minutes till three months.
The pediatrician advised us, against leaving the massage mid-way. As the tear duct may get blocked again. This was the best and preliminary treatment to open up the tear duct.
If post the massage of three months the duct still remains blocked then an eye specialist will have to perform a surgery to open up the duct.
We were lucky that after a regular massage of three months Mehr’s blockage opened up.
This my request to all the parents to be very careful with babies. Since, they can’t communicate we have to be extra careful even for little things. Anything which is not normal has to be checked with the doctor. Routinely keep checking their entire body for any discrepancies. As they rightly say “It is better to be safe than sorry.”