Clogged Tear Ducts - Austin,TX

Updated on February 23, 2010
M.F. asks from Austin, TX
14 answers

My 15 month old son has had clogged tear ducts since birth. The pediatrician was hoping they would clear on their own, but were still clogged at his 12 month checkup. So she referred us to a pediatric opthamologist who has confirmed that they are clogged and scheduled him for surgery on March 4th to open them up. We are not too thrilled about having to put him under anesthesia and are wondering what would happen if we didn't do the surgery - would there be any long-term effects? We have checkups for him & his twin brother this morning so will discuss it with his pediatrician, but was wondering if any other moms out there have dealt with this - whether or not you had the surgery, and why or why not? We have also tried a massage technique to open them that we read about on the Mayo Clinic's website, but they still appear to be clogged. Any advice or observations are welcome! Thanks!!!

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answers from Houston on

Have you tried a really warm compress? Press a warm, almost hot, compress, down over each eye & wait til it cools then repeat a few more times to see if this helps. I believe there are also old home remedies for this too. If I were at my mother's home, they have a book there from like the 1940s for old home remedies. You can always look it up online also. Good luck.

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answers from Austin on

Our daughter had the same condition. Our pediatrician had us wait until 18 months old to make the decision. The wait was rough, because her skin around her eye was always chaffed, and she kept getting eye infections.

In the end, we were glad we waited. Her tear duct cleared up on its own one week before she hit 18 months (days before the surgery was scheduled). No surgery was necessary.

The doctor told us that most conditions clear up by 18 months, and in our case, he was right.



answers from Houston on

My daughter was a two month premmie. She had blocked tear ducts. She had the surgery (she was 8-9 months old) to where they placed a tube temporarily and it was the best thing. It worked wonderfully. If I was to do this again I would. She has never had any more issues since. We too, did the massage and etc.. I reccomend it..



answers from San Antonio on

I would get a second opinion - before ANY surgery, for that matter. My son had clogged ducts at 15 mos, and we took him to a pediatric opthamologist in San Antonio who prescribed Afrin and a decongestant! We were skeptical, but it worked! There's still a very mild partial blockage now on one side, which is only noticeable really in high allergy season - she said that will clear up over time. So get a second opinion before going under the knife - there's more than one ped opth in town.



answers from Philadelphia on

My son had clogged tear ducts, but they cleared up with antibiotic ointment. He also had tubes put in his ears, so he went under for that. I was really scared too, but it was not a really big deal. The worst part, which they did tell us about, was the crying when he woke up. He was a little out of it, and was pretty inconsolable for about 20min. But then he fell asleep and was fine after that! So I would say gear up for a crappy 20 or 30 minutes, and then a little sleepiness with maybe an extra nap or an extra long regular nap. That's about it. Good luck!!



answers from Victoria on

my son had ear tubes when he was 10 months. one ear infection was already so bad the tube pushed out so we returned at 11 months to have another. that procedure was only about 10 or 15 mins long. it was nerve racking at first but it was over with so quickly. the anisteigolist had a child our sons age and that really calmed our nerves. find out the risks and benifits of waiting from your doctor. do what is best for your child. even if that is waiting or going ahead with the surgery. good luck. God bless.



answers from Oklahoma City on

My son is 16 months and he had/has this problem although it's changed. He used to have a really teary left eye. It would tear so much that he would wake up in the morning or sometimes from nap and his eye would be crusted shut, poor baby. He doesn't have the teary eye anymore, but I do notice when he wakes up in the morning his eyes are so puffy, especially on his left eye lid. I'm not sure if he still has the problem or not so I'm going to check with the doctor at his next checkup. She did refer us to a pediatric opthamologist also but I never went, hoping it would clear up on it's own. I'm not sure if we are out of the woods or not. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.



answers from San Antonio on

Ha! I am have the same problem and my daughter's surgery was scheduled for March 5th. Then her eye started to look a little clearer, so I cancelled. I want to watch it a little more before I make that decision to put her under. She is 14 months now. It's a big decision to put your baby under, but I heard it's a pretty routine surgery and its really effective. Its also a costly surgery if you don't have insurance, which we have, but still a good chunk of change.



answers from Odessa on

My son had the surgery at 9 months old. But his eye would matt up all day long and looked as though it would scab over.... We tried the massage and the warm towel tricks and nothing seemed to worked, it just got worse as the day progressed. The surgery went fine other than the Doctor did say if we would have waited much longer then he would have had to do reconstructive surgery on the duct.... He is now 14 years old with no problems.... Other then a stigmatism but he gets that from his Dad.....

I was also worried about him going under anesthesia, but the doctors and the nurses talked over that with us and it helped a little, but when it comes to our babies we just worry.... I can say that after the surgery it was nice because he wanted to cuddle with momma again instead of crawling around everywhere....

Hope this helps you out.
Wish you the best of luck and will pray that you will have comfort in making the right decision....



answers from San Antonio on

My daughter had one clogged duct. The doctor opened it right there in the office. The doctor's staff had to restrain her but it took like 2 seconds. You might try getting a second opinion to see if the ducts could be opened in an in office procedure. She is not scarred from the experience. She was about the same age as your son when the procedure was done. She is now eight and has no memory of it.



answers from Austin on

My son had the surgery when he was 22 mos. He'd had clogged ducts in both eyes since birth. We were nervous but the surgery was really no big deal as others have described, he was groggy after the surgery then back to normal the next day.
Unfortunately, no one told us that the surgery doesnt always work. While my son's right eye is fine now, his left eye duct is still clogged and waters constantly. It's been a year since his surgery. We've been back to see the pediatric opthamalogist who did the surgery and she told us sometimes the surgery doesnt completely clear the duct. (NOW she tells us!) She recommended repeating the surgery with a more extensive clearing of the duct this time, which apparently she doesnt do routinely b/c it causes more post-op pain and usually isnt necessary.
After talking it over with her some more, my husband and I decided not to repeat the surgery. The dr. said there's a chance that the duct will eventually clear on its own as he grows and his face becomes larger, and that there's minimal risk to waiting - slight risk of infection, but she said if that happened we'd treat the infection and then she'd probably want to perform the surgery.
My son's eye does water all the time though, and now that he's getting older he complains about it and other kids sometimes ask why he's 'crying'. I feel bad for him but hate to put him under anesthesthia again. I pray that it clears on its own as he grows.
Good luck with your decision!


answers from Denver on

Yes, My son had a clogged tear duct. We had the surgery done and I wish we had done it sooner. (in the middle of moving and insurance changing) The surgery was no big deal at all. We did the massaging and did some antibiotic ointments and finally did the surgery. No more green gunk, no more teary eye. The doctor told us that if we didn't have it done and when he got to be school aged that they would probably send him home because they would say it was pink eye. My dad is a nurse of anesthetist and he reassured me about the anesthesia part. I think we had to be there at 6 am and we left the hospital before 10am. We took him home and he was a lil groggy but he was back to normal the next day. I'm glad we had it done!



answers from Indianapolis on

I think you're doing the right things by seeing a Pediatric Ophthamologist. I think the questions you raise are good ones to ask them. If you're not comfortable with the recommendation to perform surgery on a small child, I'd seek another opinion. I had to do that while going through chemo - it's hard to ask a Doctor to recommend someone else to speak with, but they understand you're just trying to gather as much information as possible and won't be offended. In the end, I chose not to go with my own Oncologist's recommendation.

We had our daughter under general anesthesia for tubes at 11 months. She did great. The concern of permanent damage to her ear drums because of not getting tubes outweighed the concerns of a routine procedure.

Good luck.



answers from Seattle on

My daughter had the surgery done at 18 months, really glad we did. Hers were so clogged that initially the surgeon thought she was born without ducts (they can fix that in the surgery but can't tell for sure until they get in there). He was able to clean them out and she has been problem free ever since. The anesthesia was scary but no big deal in the end.

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