About Nasolacrimal
Duct Disorders & Problems

Tearing in children is a common finding. There are many different causes of tearing and it is important to have your doctor check your child for some of the more serious problems.  Most often tearing is caused by a blockage of the nasolacrimal duct (NLD) passageway.  This is a common finding in infants-studies have shown that about 6% of infants are born with an NLD obstruction. The most common cause of an obstruction is from a mucous membrane of the nose, which fails to regress during development. Other causes of NLD obstructions include irregular development of the lacrimal drainage passageway, infections, trauma, growths and medications. Treatment initially involves massaging the lacrimal system, warm compresses and sometimes antibiotic drops. If these interventions are unsuccessful, a nasolacrimal duct probing may be necessary. Some children require the placement of a silicone tube in the nasolacrimal duct system to keep the passageway open. Most obstructions will resolve on their own by one year of age.  However, some children have severe symptoms and require intervention before this age.