Back

Lacrimal Duct Stenosis

(Blocked Tear Duct; Nasolacrimal Duct Obstruction; Lacrimal Duct Obstruction; Dacryostenosis)

Definition

Lacrimal duct stenosis is a narrowing of a tear duct (lacrimal duct). This condition can occur in children and adults. This fact sheet will focus on lacrimal duct stenosis in infants.
Lacrimal Duct
ao00127 40018 1 lacrimal duct.jpg
The lacrimal duct (in blue) drains tears from the eye down into the nose. The opening of the ducts are near the inner corner of the eye.Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

In some babies, problems in normal development of the tear duct can cause lacrimal obstruction. A thin membrane may cover the opening of the duct into the nose.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your baby’s chance of lacrimal duct stenosis:

Symptoms

Lacrimal duct stenosis may cause:

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your baby’s symptoms and medical history. The doctor will do an exam. Your baby may need to see a doctor who specializes in eye conditions in children if it persists.
The eye doctor may do a dye disappearance test. This test will help to confirm that there is a blockage in the tear duct.

Treatment

Talk with the doctor about the best treatment plan for your baby. In infants, this condition often heals by itself in the first year of life.
Treatment options include:

Prevention

There are no current guidelines to prevent lacrimal duct stenosis.

RESOURCES

Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.healthychildren.org

National Eye Institute (NEI) http://www.nei.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Ophthalmology Society http://www.cos-sco.ca

Caring for Kids—Canadian Pediatric Society http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca

References

Blocked tear duct. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/blocked-tear-duct/basics/definition/con-20033765. Updated February 13, 2013. November 4, 2015.

Hurwitz JJ. The lacrimal drainage system. Ophthalmology. 2nd ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby; 2004: 761-768.

Nasolacrimal duct obstruction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 15, 2011. Accessed November 4, 2015.

Tear duct obstruction and surgery. Nemours Kid's Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/eyes/tear%5Fduct%5Fobstruct%5Fsurgery.html. Accessed November 4, 2015.

Tearing. The Merck Manual Professional Edition website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/eye-disorders/symptoms-of-ophthalmologic-disorders/tearing?qt=tearing&alt=sh. Updated August 2014. Accessed November 4, 2015.

Revision Information