Blocked tear ducts are fairly common in babies. Fortunately, nearly all blocked tear ducts clear up by the time the child is 1 year old. If the duct still remains blocked and does not resolve itself, the duct opening can be enlarged with a probe. Yes, surgical probing can open up blockages and narrowing within the tear drainage system, safely and effectively.
This procedure is carried out under general anesthesia. It involves passing a thin, blunt wire probe gently into the opening of the tear duct in the eyelid and down the tear duct to open up the obstruction. Probing works well to clear simple blockages and may be done again if it doesn't work the first time.
You child may need a Tear duct surgery in the following cases
- Persistent tear duct infection
- Excessive tearing and sticky eyes, resulting in crusting
- Mucus or yellowish discharge in the eye
- Tears pooling in the corner of your baby's eyes occasionally and running down the cheeks
Your child is eligible for a Tear duct surgery if he/she
- Has turned 1 year old and still has a blocked tear duct
- Has had recurrent eye infections that causes scarring, making the duct unlikely to open on its own
- Has a swollen bluish bump alongside the nose
- Has become more fussy and cranky because of the blockage
The Risks Involved
Tear duct probing is a safe procedure. However, very rarely it can develop infection, bleeding, scarring of the tear duct, anesthesia problems or bruising and swelling.
Simple tear duct probing is successful in clearing the duct for about 80 out of 100 babies. For those blockages which recur, a repeat probing may be performed.
If your child is over a year old or has repeated infections caused by the blocked tear duct, Tear duct probing is a great option. Open up the blocked tear duct system and allowyour child’s tear ducts to function normally, with a tear duct probing.