BLOCKED TEAR DUCT
What’s this? Your eyes constantly produce tears to protect their surface areas. These tears then drain into the very small opening in the corner of your eye (near the nose). Sometimes this duct isn’t completely developed at birth, which causes thick tears to pool in the corner of your baby’s eye(s) and then stream down his cheeks. “About 20 percent of all newborns have a tear duct obstruction,” says Weiss. You won’t notice a blocked duct until your baby starts producing tears at about 2 to 3 weeks old.
What’s the best treatment? Watching and waiting. “The duct usually opens on its own by the time your child is 6 to 12 months old,” says Weiss. In the meantime, ask your pediatrician to teach you how to gently “milk” or massage the duct two to three times a day. If an eye infection develops, drops or ointment will be prescribed. On the off chance the duct stays blocked after your baby’s first birthday, a pediatric ophthalmologist may need to perform a low-risk procedure to open the duct.