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Blocked Tear Ducts

blocked tear ducts

About 20 percent of newborns will have a blocked tear duct or lacrimal duct stenosis. Typically, parents notice recurrent yellow eye discharge without any redness of the white of the eye. This can occur in one or both eyes.

How does this happen? Tears are formed in glands superior and lateral to the eye. These tears cross and wash our eyes. Normally, they drain into the lacrimal duct which leads to the nose. In many newborns, this drainage is partially or completely blocked. As the tears well up one of two things will happen. Either the tear will run down the infants face or as water evaporates a yellow residue forms.

While many doctors recommend antibiotic drops or massage of the duct, I do not recommend any treatment. Most clogged tear ducts self-resolve by 6 to 8 months.
If they do not improve at 12 months, the child should be referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist.

Clogged Tear Ducts

My 2 month old daughter’s eyes have had a yellow discharge since birth. Our pediatrician said it is a “clogged tear duct”. He prescribed antibiotic drops and encouraged us to massage her tear ducts but they a (... more on Clogged Tear Ducts

Blocked Tear Duct Treatment

Our 5 week old son has a blocked tear duct.  I have been told to massage it and apply breast milk several times a day, however it does not seem to be improving.  It is to the point now that his eye almost (... more on Blocked Tear Duct Treatment)


Written April 2010 by
Dr. Gordon, Orlando Pediatrician


 is intended to help parents understand the needs and behaviors of children. The information presented in the site is the opinion of Gregory Gordon, M.D.and does not reflect the opinion of his partners. This website is owned exclusively by Doctors insights LLC. The advice in this site does not apply to all children. Always consult your healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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