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Congenital Tear Duct Blockage Specialist

Richard L. Storm, M.D. -  - Ophthalmology

Richard L. Storm, M.D.

Ophthalmology located in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn, NY & Nassau County, Long Beach, NY

If you notice that your infant or child frequently has tears pooling in their eyes or draining over their cheeks when they’re not crying, it could be a sign of a congenital tear duct blockage. At his offices in Brooklyn Heights and Nassau County in Long Beach, New York, double board-certified ophthalmologist and pediatrician Richard Storm, M.D. P.C. diagnoses and treats congenital tear duct blockages with customized treatments. Schedule a consultation today for expert pediatric eye care.

Congenital Tear Duct Blockage Q & A

What is a congenital tear duct blockage?

A congenital tear duct blockage, clinically referred to as dacryostenosis or nasolacrimal duct obstruction, affects more than 5% of infants. 

Your eye ducts, or puncta, are openings at the corners of your eyelids that allow tears to drain from your eyes, flushing away debris through your nasal passages. However, if something is blocking those ducts, your tears can’t drain correctly and well up in your eyes and spill. 

Congenital tear duct blockages are usually due to the drainage system not being fully developed or a structural abnormality in the tear ducts. For example, many infants have a thin membrane that covers the part of the duct that drains into the nose. 

Tear duct obstruction is most common in infants and young children, although rarely, older children and adults can develop tear duct blockages due to cysts, tumors, or extra tissue in their nasal cavity. 

What are the symptoms of a congenital tear duct blockage?

Some of the common signs of a tear duct blockage include:

  • Excessive tearing
  • Mucus-like discharge 
  • Waking with crusty eyelids
  • Small red bump at the inner corner of the eye
  • Swelling or tenderness in the nose
  • Recurring eye infections 

If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with Dr. Storm to identify the condition causing them and get appropriate treatment. 

How are tear duct obstructions treated?

Dr. Storm offers highly customized care to address congenital tear duct blockages. Depending on the severity of your child’s symptoms, he may recommend waiting and monitoring the situation as many children outgrow tear duct obstructions. 

He gives you instructions on how to make sure your child’s eyes are clean and prevent infection. Dr. Storm teaches you how to perform a tear duct massage, which needs to be repeated three times a day. He may also prescribe antibiotic eye drops to reduce discharge and prevent future infections.

However, if your child’s tear duct blockage doesn’t clear up by their first birthday, Dr. Storm may suggest surgery to remove the obstruction. Tear duct blockage surgery is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that usually only takes 10 minutes. Dr. Storm passes a soft, small probe through the tear duct and into the nose to open any obstructions. 

If you’re concerned about a congenital tear duct blockage or need pediatric eye care for your child, call Richard Storm, M.D. P.C. or schedule an appointment today.