Lacrimal Duct Stenosis
(Blocked Tear Duct; Nasolacrimal Duct Obstruction; Lacrimal Duct Obstruction; Dacryostenosis)
Pronounced: La-cree-mahl duct sten-oh-sis
Lacrimal duct stenosis involves narrowing of a tear duct (lacrimal duct). This condition can occur in children and adults. This fact sheet will focus on lacrimal duct stenosis in infants.
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In some babies, problems in normal development can cause lacrimal duct obstruction. A thin membrane may cover the opening of the duct into the nose.
These factors increase your baby’s chance of developing lacrimal duct stenosis:
If your baby has any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to lacrimal duct stenosis. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if your baby has any of these:
The doctor will ask about your baby’s symptoms and medical history. The doctor will do an exam. Your baby may need to see a doctor who specializes in eye conditions in children.
The eye doctor may do a dye disappearance test. This test will help to confirm that there is a blockage in the tear duct.
Talk with the doctor about the best treatment plan for your baby. In infants, this condition often heals by itself in the first year of life.
Treatment options include:
It is not possible to prevent this condition. To help reduce your baby’s chance of getting eye infections, keep your baby’s eyes clean and free of mucous.
American Academy of Pediatrics
National Eye Institute
Canadian Ophthalmology Society
Canadian Pediatric Society
DynaMed Editors. Nasolacrimal duct obstruction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated April 8, 2010. Accessed April 20, 2010.
Hurwitz JJ. The lacrimal drainage system. Ophthalmology . 2nd ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby; 2004: 761-768.
Kids Health. Causes of blocked tear ducts. Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.... . Accessed April 22, 2010.
Mayo Clinic. Blocked tear duct: risk factors. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayocli... . Updated October 2008. Accessed April 22, 2010.
Merck Manuals. Tearing. Merck Manuals Online Medical Library website. Available at: www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec09/ch098/ch098k.html . Updated April 2009. Accessed April 20, 2010.
Last reviewed June 2013 by Michael Woods, MD