How do I know if it is a blocked tear duct or con­junc­tivi­tis?

Townsville Bulletin - - LIFESTYLE -

WThey eye­ball is kept moist by tears that is con­tin­u­ously pro­duced by the tear- pro­duc­ing gland. Ev­ery time we blink, tears are swept to­wards the in­side cor­ner of the eye and drained through two tiny tubes called lachry­mal ducts, also called tear ducts. From there, tears pass into the na­so­lacrimal sac, then into the na­so­lacrimal duct to the nose and, ul­ti­mately, to the throat for swal­low­ing.

Some ba­bies are born with a block­age within the tear duct sys­tem, usu­ally the na­so­lacrimal duct.

The thin mem­brane that seals the na­so­lacrimal duct fails to open at birth. The symp­toms of blocked tear duct in­clude watery eye, tears run­ning down the face, dis­charge of pus and in­creased sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to in­fec­tions. These symp­toms can be sim­i­lar to con­junc­tivi­tis. Ba­bies born with blocked tear duct of­ten get bet­ter with­out any treat­ment.

Some­times, if it is per­sis­tent, they need med­i­cal man­age­ment or need sur­gi­cal man­age­ment. Ba­bies may need deep mas­sage of the na­so­lacrimal, but it is dif­fi­cult to do well. If it be­comes in­fected we may need to pre­scribe an­tibi­otics, to treat any bac­te­rial in­fec­tions.

Sur­gi­cal in­ter­ven­tion is not usu­ally done un­til the baby is over one year un­less this is se­vere and caus­ing skin ir­ri­ta­tion.

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