Obstruction of the lacrimal canal, or dacryostenosis, is a quite common problem in newborns, which, in itself, is not a cause for concern. It is observed in more than 25% of infants, and in most cases passes by itself, during the first year of life.
A little bit about tears and tear channel
In the human body, everything is very well thought out, and tear fluid is no exception to this rule. It is necessary for our eyes to moisturize, “feed” with nutrients and disinfection, which prevents the negative impact of the external environment. This useful liquid is excreted from the lacrimal punctures (one per eyelid), which are connected with the tubules, the lacrimal sac, and the nasal duct.
But this entire works exactly in people who have already been born. And in a fetus that develops in the mother’s body, all the paths indicated above are blocked with a special gelatinous film. It is necessary that the amniotic fluid does not penetrate into the respiratory tract. Most often, obstruction of the lacrimal canal in newborns occurs if, after the birth of a baby, the gelatinous film, which should burst, does not. Therefore, all the ways in which his tears must “go” remain, as it were, blocked.
However, there are other reasons for this problem:
- Too narrow tubules, due to the underdevelopment of the tearing system (again, during the first year of life, this is usually corrected naturally).
- Tumors or cysts in the nose (this practically does not occur in infants).
- The tissue grows either in the lacrimal tubules or in the nose.
- Injury to the eyes, which also affected the state of the lacrimal canal.
How to detect obstruction of the lacrimal canal in infants?
The most common symptom of this problem is tearing, not depending on whether the newborn is crying. This is due to the fact that the fluid that was supposed to flow out through the tear points, stagnates in the lacrimal sac. The accumulation of fluid contributes to the development of infection and inflammatory processes (this is called “dacryocystitis”). Hence, another pronounced and frequently occurring symptom: pus or “crust” in the eyes of a newborn. This is especially noticeable in the morning, after waking up the baby.
The symptoms mentioned above are characteristic if the obstruction is associated with a gelatinous film that has not exploded after birth. If it is caused by the presence of a cyst in the lacrimal sac, then its most obvious sign will be the presence of a small bluish tubercle on the inner corner of the child’s eye. This problem is called “dacryocystistele”.
Treatment of newborn pathology
If you find the symptoms mentioned above, it is highly desirable to consult an ophthalmologist. He will examine the newborn, carry out the necessary diagnostics and be able to make an accurate conclusion about what caused the obstruction of the lacrimal canal, and how it should be treated (and whether it is worth it at all). Here are the following options:
- No need for treatment. For example, a non-bursting gelatinous film may completely dissolve itself. In this case, the child’s problem will soon pass away, and it is not worthwhile to additionally expose him to a medical effect.
- Procedural approach. The essence of this treatment of obstruction of the lacrimal canal in children lies in its expansion, insertion of the probe and rinsing. Theoretically, such manipulations should lead to the opening of the channel. If they are not enough, the doctor may additionally use the expanding probe. The procedure is performed very carefully and carefully, under local anesthesia.
- Massage. It can appoint as to achieve a gap of a gelatinous film and to get rid of a cyst in a lacrimal sac. The technique of performing the message is prescribed by the doctor, and it must be adhered to thoroughly (in the ideal case – to entrust it to a specialist).
- Medicines This usually involves local antibiotics, which are necessary if the obstruction of the lacrimal canal in an infant is accompanied by an infection of the problem area. Special drops may also be prescribed.
- Rinsing and compresses. They can be performed using medicinal herbs decoctions, as well as an antibiotic with saline. Such procedures should also be performed only after a doctor is prescribed, and in many cases only in the treatment room, because at home and without proper experience you cannot do it right.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that hygiene plays an extremely important role in the treatment of obstruction of the lacrimal canal in newborns. If you wash the child’s eyes on your own or message him, be sure to treat your hands with an antiseptic.