Three Year Old Has Cold with Blocked Tear Duct

Updated on March 22, 2008
T.C. asks from Catawba, SC
17 answers

My 3 year old son had an on and off blocked tear duct when he was born which finally cleared completely at about 16 months. He has had several colds since then but now he has a cold and the tear duct seems to be blocked again. Has anyone had any experience with this? Has anyone had a child with a cold to get a blocked tear duct relapse like this? Any advice would be appreciated.

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So What Happened?

I wanted to thank everyone for their advice. Turned out it was not a blocked tear duct but was the onset of conjunctivitis. He was prescribed 10 days of the antibiotic Omniceft. I discontinued the antibiotic after 6 days though because the diarrhea it caused was just horrible! Poor child had a terrible yeast diaper rash and even had blisters. He screamed at every diaper change. I finally got that cleared up with Lotrimin and Butt Paste. Anyway, the cold was passed on to my 6 month old daughter, who got an ear infection rather than the eye problem. She was also treated with antibiotics (Augmentin) and same thing...yeast diaper rash. Again the Lotrimin and Butt Paste took care of it. I do thank everyone sooo much for the advice and hope you all are well and staying healthy. Thanks again! T.

More Answers



answers from Raleigh on

Hi T.,

The book that I live by when I have questions like this, The Baby Book by William and Martha Sears. It is my baby Bible. Run out and get a copy!

Here's what they say about clogged tear ducts:
Gently massage the tear duct that is located beneath the tiny "bump" in the nasal corner of the eye. Massage in an upward direction (toward the nose) about six times. Do this tear-duct massage as often as you think of it - for example, before each diaper change (he's probably potty trained?). Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic ointment or drops to treat this infection. Occasionally this doesn't work and it becomes necessary for an eye doctor to open these tear ducts by inserting a tiny wire probe into them. This is usually a short, minor office procedure but may require outpatient surgery under general anesthesia. Sometimes in an older child this discharge may be caused by an eye infection called conjunctivitis.

Hope this helps!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Greensboro on

Bless your heart. I had good luck with using baby shampoo, a tiny speck and warm compresses on the eye. I know it is hard to get a 3 year old to hold still so you can just make a "game of it", Like playing pirates! I might tell my son that he could wear a patch if he let mom put a warm cloth on his eye for a few minutes. You could read a book with the open eye as a distraction. Every night at bathtime I would take a little baby shampoo and really clean the eye area with it, you can even use a Qtip to get close. The baby shampoo should not burn even when used close to and around the eye. I thought I was the only 42 year old Mom with a 5 year old. Some days I feel like the elder pre-school Mom. I love it though! Aren't kids so much fun in our 40s! You are my hero with 2!! I would check with an Opthalmologist if this continues, but a lot of times the Dr. will say to use warm compresses.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

My 20 month old son has a runny eye and a runny nose associated with a sinus infections. I also asked if his tear duct could be plugged. The pediatrician told me that this happens in some children, as the sinus cavity is so close to the eye. Antibiotics cleared it up almost immediately.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fayetteville on

All three of my boys had a blocked tear duct as babies and my oldest actually had to have surgery when he was 19 months to have it fixed (there was actually bone there). He is 5 1/2 now and my 3 year old and 17 month old still have a little bit of an issue when they have colds with excessive "stuff" in their eyes. I just do the typical warm compress and massaging the side of their nose to loosen up whatever is causing the problem. Sometimes that won't work though and I just have to wait for the cold to pass. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lexington on

if you gett a duplicate, I apologize, I was typing, then the response disappeared.
Anyway, my 2 1/2 yr old had the same problem. At 10 months, we had a proceure to unblock it, after seeing an opthalmologist/specialist. It cleared up right away and had no more probs.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

T. C, You are not alone ok, my month old has recently experienced this and his pediatrician gave us a prescription for
AugmentinMG (Amoxicillin W/Clavulanate).
Maybe you can call and ask your about this prescription. It only took 3-5 days and KJ's was all cleared up.

Our prayers will be with you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Memphis on

my 2 year old has experienced this in her 1st year of life. my advice to you is to always keep your pediatrician notififed and don't ever feel bad about calling the nurse and leaving messages for her to talk to the doctor and call you back! yo have to remember 2 things, 1st make sure that when you go to your pediatrician he or she seems knowledgeable to you! or if you go to a group normally you will see some dr.'s you like more than others! if your nurse is not good about calling you back with your questions within 3 to 4 hours i would change dr's. also, it can never hurt to get 2nd opinions!
hope this was helpful!
God Bless
if you are in tth memphis area let me know
[email protected]



answers from Huntington on

hi maybe a warm wash cloth would work. or evena warm shower or bath. my lil girl had this but they gave me oriment for this



answers from Nashville on

My step-son had this problem and it would not clear up on it's own. He ended up having surgery. No big deal. In and out, it took longer to drive there. He is fine now. The day of the surgery, you never would have known he had it done. Talk to your doctor, the ducts may not have opened up completely to begin with.



answers from Huntington on

My son had a blocked tear duct when he was very small. We treated it by applying a warm moist cloth and gently massaging the area around his eye. It seemed to work. His was caused by an allergy to pet dander. So needless to say the pet went outside. Hope it helps.



answers from Huntington on

this sounds weird but try a strong onion to put in front of his face.It might work.



answers from Memphis on

My daughter had the blocked tear duct as an infant. At seven months, she was already scheduled for another surgery and we opted to have the probe of the duct done. She was already going to be put to sleep, so we just happened to time it right. It really made a huge difference, but still from time to time with a bad cold she will get a little backed up in the tear duct. You can try massaging it with a little bit of pressure downward from the top of the nose. That seemed to help us get everything cleared out at least. We saw a pediatric opthamalogist who was wonderful and gave me some handouts of different types of things to do to help clear it out. Hope that helps! Good luck!



answers from Wheeling on

T., my 6 yr old step-daughter experienced the same exact symptoms as your child. Her doctor opened the tear duct and this seemed to work. However, her eyes still water a good bit when she gets a cold. I don't think it is anything to worry about seriously anyways. I think your child will outgrow it just as ours has.



answers from Goldsboro on

Hi, T.,

Warm, wet compresses seem to be helpful in speeding up the dissolving of the blockage. Let me tell you my experience with this.

When my son was around 1 year old, he had a blocked tear duct in his left eyelid, swollen so badly that the eye was nearly closed. He had it surgically taken care of under general anesthesia and was fine. However, another developed at about 18 months. We took him to the same Opthamologist office only to be told, "Wait and it will eventually go away." I told them about the previous surgery, and they were really upset. They said you NEVER give a child general anesthesia under 2 years, as there is only a 50/50 chance of them coming out of it!!

Needless to say, we gave him all the information we could, doctor's name, etc. And the lump did eventually go away.

With an older child, this procedure can be done in the doctor's chair, but a little one is just too wiggly and easily scared. So be sure you see a doctor you really trust.

I don't know if it had anything to do with it or not, but my son (now grown) has always had bad allergies also.

I hope this is some help to you. Best wishes.




answers from Honolulu on

My little boy did that when he was little too. It would come and go. Finally the dr did some kind of procedure in his office and unclogged it and we have never had anymore trouble.



answers from Asheville on

My daughter had blocked tear ducts in both eyes - the best thing to do is take a warm, moist cloth and massage the tear ducts for a little while to try to clear them. Unfortunately, my daughter's tear ducts continued to be blocked and she eventually had to have outpatient surgery on them, which was very minor. She had that done when she was 1-year-old and hasn't had any problems since other than once when she had a bad cold. Since your son has a cold, I would just try massaging them and see if it gets better in the next few days. If he continues to have problems with his tear ducts, then I would suggest talking to your pediatrician about it or seeing a children's eye specialist. Good luck!



answers from Louisville on

My friends son had this and he had the little tubes put in to fix it. it worked however since i have been watching him i have often notices he says his eyes hurt. call the doctor. good luck!

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