Tear Duct - Blocked

Disponible En Espanol

Care at Home

  • WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: * A blocked tear duct is common. It happens in 10% of newborns. * Both sides are blocked 30% of the time. * A blocked tear duct does not need treatment unless it becomes infected. * Here is some care advice that should help.
  • PUS IN THE EYE: * Pus in the eye or eyelids stuck together means the eye is infected. * This is common with blocked tear ducts. It should clear up in a few days with antibiotic eyedrops. * For pus in the eye, call your child's doctor for a prescription. * In the meantime, here is some advice that should help.
  • REMOVE PUS: * Remove the dried and liquid pus from the eyelids with warm water and wet cotton balls. * Do this each time you see pus. * Also, clean the eyes before you use the prescription eyedrops. The eyedrops will not work unless the pus is removed first.
  • MASSAGE: * Some doctors suggest massage of the lacrimal sac (where tears collect). Other doctors do not. Massage is not required. The tear duct will open without any massage. If massage is advised, do it this way: * The lacrimal sac is in the inner lower corner of the eye. This sac can be massaged to empty it of old fluids. * A cotton swab works much better than a finger. Reason: The swab is smaller. * Start at the inner corner of the eye and press upward. Be very gentle. Do this twice a day. * Fluid and mucus should come out of the lacrimal sac.
  • WHAT TO EXPECT: * Over 90% of tear ducts open up on their own. * This should happen by the time the child is 12 months of age. * If your child is over 12 months old, talk to your child's doctor. Your child may need to see an eye doctor.
  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF: * Eye looks infected * Eyelid becomes red or swollen * Your child becomes worse


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