Blocked Tear Duct in babies: Meaning, Symptoms and treatment


Hey everyone, today we will be talking about a very common problem in newborns/infants called ‘Blocked Tear Duct’. Tear duct is also called ‘ashru nalika’ in Hindi terms. As a new parent, many of us get panic or scared of such things with newborn. We immediately rush to the paediatrician, and even wonder the doctor will laugh and say it is nothing to worry about! 

At the end, I will also be sharing my views, what I faced and what was my situation when my baby suffered from the same. 

Role of Tears for eyes

When you get tears in your eyes? When extremely happy, sad, depressed  or in panic situations. But do you know, whatever the situation is, tears are very good and eye’s best fried. Let us see what tears does for your eyes-

  • Keeps your eyes moist and maintains healthy functioning of eyes. 
  • Tears prevents dryness and makes a watery layer on your eye which protects it from dust and pollutants. 
  • Protects you eye from irritants and avoids eye infections. 

What is Blocked tear Duct?

Blocked Tear duct or Sticky eyes is a very common problem in babies and infants. First of all, we should know what is tear duct. It is a thin passage in the corner of every eye, which drains the tears down to the nasal cavity, that is why our nose feels running when we cry. 

blocked tear duct

Newborns don’t gets tears when they cry, around for first 1-2 months. Also their tear duct is not fully developed this time. 90% of babies gets this problem during the first 6 months of their life. The tear duct is partially open or blocked in babies eyes which takes some time and natural massage to get open. 

Symptoms of blocked tear duct:

Symptoms of blocked tear duct is very same like any other eye infection, that is why most of parents gets panic; thinking that their newborn has got some eye problem kind of thing. 

Symptoms of Blocked tear duct can be experienced as below:

  1. Watery eyes with yellow/green discharge 
  2. Sticking of eyelids specially after waking in the morning
  3. Swelling around the eyes
  4. Constant tears in the eyes

Treatment of Blocked Tear Duct

We should know that, treatment is in our hands only! You must be amazed, how the treatment is in our hands, not in doctor’s. But it’s true, if your baby has got this blocked duct; then you yourself can treat it at home. There is no need to rust for hospitals. 

But if you see this for first time (like in first few weeks for life), surely visit to your  doctor. They will guide you and confirm that its normal one not only infection case. Like if the blockage is there for long time, and is not properly cared then it can also cause infection around or in the eyes. 

cleaning sticky eyes

As discussed, the treatment can be done at home only. Following are the guidelines to treat this effectively at home:

1. Take care of the Hygiene

Keep the baby’s eyes clean always. If you are not cleaning the eyes properly, the due to the discharge and sediment of mucus it can cause infection. Take a cup of warm water and 2 cotton balls (one for each eye). Dip the balls into water, squeeze the excess water and clean the baby’s eyes one by one. 

It is the the first step to treat this. 

2. Lacrimal Massage to open the blockage

In this, take your little finger(make sure that your nails are small and not sharp at all) and put in on the corner side of the eye. Genly spin, to make a round and then slant it downwards. Do the same with another eye. You can do this 2-3 times a day. It is very effective to open the blockage naturally. 

Small babies will move a lot and they will not allow you do this, the best time to do this is on feeding time. At this time they are eased and not moving so you can do this massage easily. 

3. Avoid kajal this time

In many cases, such blockages may get severe due to the particles of kajal stuck into the eye duct. So if your baby is having sticky eyes, then better avoid kajal this time. 

4. Avoid cold things and Air conditioners this time-

When the weather is humid and hot, people prefer turning on the a.c; for babies too. But this is wrong. Wether the climate is hot or cold, it is similar for newborns. They should always wear mittens and socks

In many kids, sticky eyes is also due to the over usage of fans and cooling things. These can have adverse effects on babies. 

Is there any surgery there to open blocked duct?

In very rare case, if the blockage is very tough and can’t be treated with natural methods, then a small operation is done to make another passage for tear draining. 

However, this is very rare like 2 out of 10 kids has such issues where surgery is needed. You can talk to your doctor about the things. 

My views and experiences about Blocked Tear Duct

My son too has this problem when he was only a few weeks old. However, it was the month of December so the weather was cold too. Babies born in colder seasons, is likely to have sticky eyes. The paediatrician too suggested for lacrimal massage and and to keep the baby warm. 

sticky eyes in newborn

If you expose baby to cold for long, then this can get worst as the mucus sedimentation will be very high. This usually happened in winter season. But exposing to AC might affect too. We used to clean his eyes with water and cotton balls, twice to thrice everyday. In 2-3 weeks, it went itself so there was no need to worry. 

So parents don’t panic about this. This is a very common thing among newborns. Just you need to follow the tips given above and everything will get alright. 

Hope you like the post. Share this to everyone. Take care and stay well. And share if you had faced this in past and what you did to treat this through comment.

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