TEAR OVERFLOW IN A CHILD: WHY?
Some children may present a tear overflow in an eye (very rarely does it happen in both) which appears in
the first few days of life and may last several months or years.
It is frequently accompanied by a while or yellowish secretion and it gets more intense when the child is taken outdoors.
Often infants are born with obstructed tear ducts due to a mucous residue at the end of the duct which is supposed to drain tears to the nose.
WHEN IS IT NECESSARY TO INTERVENE?
- The parent must suspect dacriostenosis in case of persistent tear overflow, with difficulty in opening the eye in the morning, white or yellowish secretion at the eyelid margin.
- In most cases the duct opens up spontaneously; it is sufficient to clean the child’s eye properly to avoid bacterial infections, and gentle massage at the inner eye corner.
- If the normal draining has not been reinstated within the first year of life, it is advisable to intervene on the little patient probing the nasolacrimal duct, in order to avoid a chronic stenosis (narrowing of ducts) which would the require a surgery.
WHAT DOES THE PROCEDURE CONSIST OF?
- A brief general anesthesia is applied, performer by staff with expertise in dealing with pediatric patients.
- The lower lacrimal punctum is widened with a punctal dilator.
- A tiny probe is introduced inside the lacrimal punctum and, following the anatomy of the lacrimal
duct, the obstruction is eliminated: this single maneuver allows to break the membrane which impedes the tear drainage. In some cases, together with the probing, an intubation of the tear ducts is performed.
- After this procedure, an irrigation with a physiological solution is performed: if a fluid can be seen coming out of the nose, the obstruction has been eliminated and the regular drainage towards the lower nasal maeatae is reinstated.
The child is followed by a highly specialized team with experience in operating on children, which ensures the utmost sensitivity and attention from the initial stage before the operation to leaving the hospital
WHAT CAN I EXPECT? WHAT ARE THE RESULTS?
The operation does not foresee any surgical incision from outside, therefore does not leave any scars.
The probing of lacrimal ducts allows to overcome the constant tear overflow problem with secretions afflicting a child.
The reinstatement of the tear drainage system reduced the risk of bacterial conjunctivitis and allows easy opening of both eyes, important for the child’s well-being.
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