Baby's Blocked Tear Ducts

Updated on November 01, 2010
J.B. asks from Belleville, IL
17 answers

My five month old has had blocked tear ducts since she was born, and the Pediatrician said they were nothing to worry about. It seems like I clean off her eyes constantly because they are always slimey or crusty. Now they seem to be pink or red quite often. I try to wait to clean them until we're breastfeeding so she's distracted and captive. :) But she's starting to fuss and fight me when I do it.

The doc said to just wipe the eye with a warm wet cloth, but is there anything else I can do? I hate people asking me if she's sick every time we go somewhere.

The doc said if they are still blocked when she turns one, an opthamologist can open them surgically. Are there any mama remedies out there to save me from the eye boogers? :)

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answers from Stockton on

when my son was a baby and he had clogged tear ducts, the dr. told me to gently massage them - worked for me - just go in the crease of the eye near the nose gently down from the eyebrow to the inner corner of the eye. Hope that made sense.....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Joseph on

My youngest daughter had blocked tear ducts when she was born, and her doctor recommended "lightly massaging them". I did as he said, and they started producing tears.

My son also had blocked tear ducts too, and I asked his doctor (different doctor) about massaging them, and he said that there was no need to, that they would open up eventually on their own. They did.

Good luck!

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answers from Charlotte on


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answers from San Francisco on

My 10.5 month old had one blocked duct and I was clearing his eye constantly. When I woke to b/f him in the middle of the night, I was always rubbing the sleepies out. Some days it was crusted shut in the morning. I kept waiting for the day I would get him up in the morning and there would be a clean, clear eye (like everyone had told me would happen), and guess what, about 4 weeks ago it happened and he hasn't had an eye boogie since. Yay! Just let nature take its course, and put some of that breast milk in it. Everyone told me to massage it, but I was already rubbing it clean so many times a day that massaging it would irritate it more or bother him. So I lubed it with breast milk and hoped for the best and in this case, it worked.



answers from Columbia on

I just read a few responses, and I have to agree...breast milk is a good, natural remedy. I did this, and it helped, but it wasn't a permanent remedy for both eyes.
One eye cleared up on it's own by the time she turned one, and we waited a few more months to see if the other would as well. It didn't and we got the surgery to clear the passage. I know it's scary having your little one go in for surgery, but we're glad we did it....also glad we waited.
Is pink/redness on the eyeball or around the area where it gets gooey? If it is the skin around the eye where it's gooey, that is because it is irritated. Drops and ointment from the doctor will help.
Hang in won't last forever!



answers from Chicago on

I agree with Dawn. My sister-in-law told me that same trick. You massage in the corner of the eye, kind of on the nose. Do this a couple times a day for a few days. You will see a world of difference in the discharge.



answers from Eugene on

My daughter had the same thing at about that same age... at her 2 month apt the dr said to massage it with a warm cloth... which I did but it did not help.... At her 4 month apt he gave her a prescription eye drop to see if it helped, before we even could consider another option, I put in it her eye 3 x a day for a was cleared up within a few days..... I don't know if the clogged tear duct got infected or if this treated it, but whatever the case it worked well for us...maybe ask him or go to a different dr..because in my opinion I would like to try whatever I could before they had to preform surgery on my baby:) My doctor told me also that if the eye drop didn't help it wasn't harmful for her to use so to me it was worth a try and luckily in our case it worked!! :) I just threw out the name of what the eye drop was, but if you need me to look into it further I probably can find the name for you! Good luck!!



answers from Kansas City on

Hang in there J.. I went through that with my youngest son. They had me not only use a warm wet cloth but also to do an eye massage. It helped some, but when he got his surgery when he was one, he did so much better and had no problems with his eyes since.
Take care and my best to you..........K.



answers from St. Louis on

Spray a little milk on her eyes when you nurse her, and gently rub it in to loosen up the crusties. Sounds kind of freaky, I know... but mommy milk is magic stuff full of anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial goodness. I have used it for pinkeye, crusty eyes, and ear infections with fantastic results. Good luck!



answers from Phoenix on

Put a warm compress on her eye for a while and then massage it by pressing your finger onto her cheek (where it meets the side of her nose) and rubbing upwards to end at the tear duct.

I did this several times a day for both of my kids and eventually a large amount of "gunk" came out of her tear duct (like a zit popping....*shudders*) and it was fine after that.



answers from Kansas City on

breastmilk! I just squirted it in my daughter's eye, and not only did it clear up soon, it made it easy to clean her eyes up.



answers from Casper on

The massage will work, but I would also recommend seeing an eye doctor. I have had 7 children with clogged ducts and only one has had to have the surgery. After meeting with the doctor about her surgery I have learned a few things. The eye itself is supposed to be moist and the purpose of the duct is to actually drain off the excess water and moisture. It drains into the nose, hence when you cry you get the runny nose. So when the duct is blocked it can't drain it and so it usually runs down the outside of the eye and down their cheeks. When the eye is too wet it is a breeding ground for infections. This is the whole reason our DD (child #6) had to have surgery. She was getting multiple infections because of her duct not working. I would just make sure that there isn't an infection and continue to massage the eye. But if it comes down to it, the surgery is easy and well worth it. We had it when my DD was 11 months old and haven't had problems with her eyes since. Good luck.



answers from Joplin on

I have had two babies with blocked ducts and I was told to massage them up to 3 times a day, both babies ended up having to have antibiotic drops though. The up not was they never had to have surgery to correct the blocked ducts and they opened on their own. I was told to use my pinky finger and gently rub from the inside corner out. As for the eye boogers...yucky I know, but warm water and saline drops are all you can do. When my little ones would go to bed sometimes I would put the absolute thinnest amount of vaseline on the lid/under eye area ( and I mean microscopic amount) because the oozey stuff would irritate their eyes so much. Good luck, it will pass!



answers from Los Angeles on

Breastmilk works well since it has natural antibacterial properties. Since you are breastfeeding, just put a little on your finger and then gentle rub her eyes.



answers from St. Louis on

I agree with all the suggestions you've gotten so far, but I do have one concern. How long has her eye been red? Is it consistently red or just occasionally? Have you spoken to the Dr. about the redness specifically? It could be that the redness is a sign of infection and she may need meds to treat it. Could just be irritation, but I'd still have it checked out to be safe.

All three of my kids had clogged ducts (for varying amts of time), so it's is HIGHLY likely that it will clear up on its own. Breast milk is a great thing to use to lubricate your finger so it's less irritating to her when you're massaging. Though it seems added massage would further irritate her eyes, it will do more toward clearing the duct faster than it will to irritate it further. Clear her eyes, then massage a few times afterward. Hopefully she'll open up soon. Good luck!



answers from Pittsburgh on

My son was also born with a clogged tear duct and my pediatrician also told me to firmly rub the inside corner. I have also heard that breast milk rubbed into the corner works. I tried it once but never did it again. My son's eye was running constantly and he would wake up every morning with it crusted shut. Eventually, I took him to pediatric eye doctor and he said that because of the severity of it he recommended he get the surgery. Well, two weeks before the surgery his eye cleared up on its own. Literally, one day it was running and the next, nothing and it never ran again. That was back in Sept when he was 10 months old. Either ask your doctor if there are eye drops that could be prescribed (the eye doctor said that some peds will do that) or maybe just take her to the eye doctor to see what they have to say. It is very common for it to clear up on its own by 12 months. Good luck!


answers from St. Louis on

Just went through the exact same thing with my 3 month old son. Our eyes were matted shut all the time and if not matted shut he had green eye boogers. I took him to an eye doctor who prescribed me some eye drops. They cost me $70 after insurance, but they seemed to work. I have a follow up appointment when he is 5 months old and then if the have not resolved they will open them up then. I was also told to take my finger and run it down the side of his nose applying a little pressure. This should also help if there is any blockage along this area.

I would highly recommend a eye doctor as we also had a mild eye infection.

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