Nasolacrimal duct anomalies are problems with tear duct development that many babies are born with. Tear ducts are tiny tubes near the inner corner of the eyes that carry tears from the surface of the eye into the nose to drain.
Blocked tear ducts are common, and many cases improve without treatment within a year. Other tear duct anomalies are more serious and cause long-term blockage and infection that can spread to the eye.
The main cause of nasolacrimal duct anomalies is some type of obstruction, including:
Newborns usually show symptoms of nasolacrimal duct anomalies within a few weeks of birth. These include:
Often, your baby’s pediatrician will be able to diagnose nasolacrimal duct anomalies and, if needed, will refer to an ophthalmologist for proper management.
Nasolacrimal duct anomalies often clear up without surgical treatment, in the first 6-to-8 months of age. When treatment is necessary, the options we recommend at Children’s National include:
Learn more about our Ophthalmology program at Children’s National.
Our specialized pediatric ophthalmologists are experts at recognizing and treating complex eye conditions in infants and children.
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Craig Peters, MD, is the chief of Surgical Technology and Translation and Principal Investigator in the bioengineering initiative at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation.
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