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What is dacryostenosis?

Dacryostenosis is a condition that causes narrowing or blockage in one or both of your child's tear ducts. The tear duct is the pathway that drains tears from your child's eye into his nose. When the tear duct is blocked, tears build up and run down your child's face. Your child may have been born with dacryostenosis. A thin film may block part or all of his tear duct.

What are the signs and symptoms of dacryostenosis?

  • Overflow of tears
  • Watery, red, or itchy eye
  • Thick, clear, or yellow drainage from his eye
  • Eyelid crusts
  • Rubbing his eye more than usual
  • Redness and irritation of the skin around his eye
  • Swelling near the inner corner of his eye

How is dacryostenosis diagnosed?

  • A fluorescein dye test will show if your child's tear duct is blocked.
  • Imaging tests, such as dacryocystography, may show the narrow or blocked tear ducts. Your child may be given contrast dye to help the tear ducts show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.

How is dacryostenosis treated?

  • Medicines may help decrease inflammation or prevent an infection.
  • Your child's healthcare provider may massage your child's tear ducts to remove any blockage or discharge.
  • Gentle water pressure may be used to open your child's tear duct. Water is passed through a small tube placed into the hole in the inner corner of his eye.
  • A small thin probe may be used to open your child's tear duct.
  • Surgery may be needed to make a new passage for tears to drain properly.

How can I manage my child's dacryostenosis?

  • Massage your child's tear ducts as directed. This may help remove any blockage or discharge and prevent infection. You may hear a soft popping sound when you massage your child's eye. Clean your child's eye with warm water before and after the massage.
  • Apply heat on your child's eye for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours for as many days as directed. Heat helps decrease swelling.

When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child's eye is red, swollen, or draining yellow fluid.
  • Your child seems weak and is irritable.
  • Your child has a nosebleed.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • Your child has severe pain.
  • Your child's eye starts to bleed.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.