Arab News – It is very common for new-born babies to have sticky yellow discharge in one or both eyes which may crust the eyelids or even glue them together. The underlying problem is often blockage of the tear ducts which are quite narrow and easily blocked in young babies. When they are blocked the fluid which usually lubricates the eye cannot drain away and infection can set in causing further blockage of the tear duct.
Watery eye is a phenomenon that occurs in approximately 5% of normal newborn infants, and it occurs in one or both eyes. Tears are drained through pores located at the upper and lower parts of the eyelids where the lacrimal sac is located, and leads into a canal called the nasolacrimal duct that passes through the bony structures surrounding your nose and empties tears into the nasal cavity.
The blockage occurs most commonly at the valve of Hasner at the distal end of the duct, which in turn drains into the Lacrimal Sac creating a rich environment for bacteria and increasing your risk of eye infections and inflammation.
Many infants are born with a blocked tear duct; Fortunately, 95% of children with blocked tear ducts open on their own; this can happen as the drainage system matures during the first few months of life, However, Parents in the primarily stage should take some steps in order to maintain the cleanliness of the child’s eye, as following:
First: keep the eyes clean by removing any excessive fluids using a wet (warm water) and clean piece of cloth.
Second: Tear duct massage can be performed at home to help the tear duct open and drain out bacteria.
If the blockage hasn’t been removed within 12 months, or if the eye has been watery and leaking or is continually irritated or infected, make an appointment to see your doctor to surgically remove the blockage (usually a simple operation under anesthesia).
In the past, physicians used a small metal tube to open the blockage. Nowadays, duct probing is generally successful using Balloon Catheter Dilation where the balloon is inflated widening the tear duck and clearing the way for tears to flow normally. The success of this procedure has been estimated as 95%.


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