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In young children, lacrimation and inflammation of the eyes are often observed in the first weeks and months of life.

Normally, in a healthy state, tears flow through two small openings at the lower and upper edges of the eyelid (lower and upper lacrimal puncta) into the lacrimal ducts and on to the nose and throat.

Causes

The nasolacrimal duct, which should open naturally in a newborn, remains closed in some cases during the first weeks and months of life. The tear stagnates, and the eye begins to water and become inflamed.

Prevention

Every time you swaddle your baby, you should massage the nasolacrimal canal from the outside. Place your index finger on the side of the child's nose and, with light pressure, massage with the pad of your finger upward towards the inner corner of the eye.

Sometimes obstruction of the nasolacrimal duct leads to infections and chronic inflammation of the eye. In this case, it becomes necessary to treat with eye drops containing an antibiotic or, accordingly, relieving swelling. You should instill these eye drops into the lower conjunctival sac several times a day, following exactly the instructions of your ophthalmologist. This procedure is carried out immediately after the above-described massage of the nasolacrimal canal with a finger.

Symptoms

Watery and/or inflamed one or both eyes.

Treatment

In rare cases, the nasolacrimal duct does not open on its own during the first 12 months of a child's life. If, after the first year of life, the patency of the lacrimal ducts is not restored, the ophthalmologist makes an attempt to wash and probe the nasolacrimal canal of the child under short-term anesthesia.

These activities are not carried out until the child's year of life for the following reasons:

1. the nasolacrimal canal, as a rule, opens itself during this time;
2. The risk of damage to the mucous membrane of the nasolacrimal canal during surgery (probing and washing) after the age of 1 year is significantly lower.

Doctor of Medical Sciences
Head of the ophthalmology clinic
Professor, MD, PhD
Head of the regional center for diseases of the macula and retina
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