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Top Pediatric Eye Doctors in Erie, PA

Blocked Tear Duct (Dacryostenosis)

When everything is working as it should, tears help keep the surface of the child's eyes moist and comfortable. Typically, the process begins with the production of tears by the lacrimal glands located above each eye. These tears then spread across the surface of our eyes each time we blink, providing necessary lubrication and keeping the eyes clean and free of dust or debris. Then, the tears pass into small ducts in the corners of the eye, flow through tiny channels around the eyes, and eventually pass into the nose.

In some babies, however, the ducts haven't formed properly, preventing the tears from draining. This is known as a blocked tear duct or dacryostenosis. Though most blocked tear ducts eventually open on their own before the baby's first birthday, some persist and require expert treatment. Blocked tear ducts can also be formed later in life, typically as the result of an injury, eye infection, or growth.

Our Pediatric Ophthalmology of Erie team has years of experience treating blocked tear ducts in babies and young children. If you believe your child may have a blocked tear duct, our pediatric eye doctors will perform a thorough evaluation and create a personalized treatment plan to help your child’s eyes stay healthy and comfortable.


Infant with a blocked tear duct

Blocked Tear Duct Surgery & Dacryostenosis Treatment

Blocked Tear Duct Symptoms & Treatments

Though one of the first things a baby learns after being born is how to cry, it's not until they're several weeks old that they start producing tears. For this reason, a blocked tear duct might take some time to diagnose. Common symptoms associated with a blocked tear duct include:

  • Excessive tearing and pooling of tears in the eye
  • Tears running down the child’s face even when they're not crying
  • Discharge or crusting around the eyes, especially after waking up
  • Swelling of the eye area

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, it's best to schedule an appointment with our pediatric eye doctors as soon as possible. After an evaluation, our team will recommend the appropriate treatment plan for your child’s blocked tear duct. This typically includes massaging the duct a few times a day, which our team can show you how to do.

For children over the age of 9 months, probing may be recommended. This simple procedure is done in our office and involves using a thin probe to open the tear duct. If the tear duct still isn't draining properly, a more involved surgical procedure may be required. Our Pediatric Ophthalmology of Erie team has years of experience with treating blocked tear ducts and will make sure your child gets the care they need.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a blocked tear duct dangerous?

If a child's blocked tear duct goes untreated, it can result in problems such as irritation, infection, or inflammation of the eye as tears and bacteria accumulate. An eye infection can be particularly serious, which is one reason why prompt treatment is important. In addition to treating the blocked tear duct, our team can also show you how to help your child maintain proper eye hygiene and avoid eye infections.

Can a blocked tear duct affect my child's vision?

Though a blocked tear duct can cause a number of problems, ranging from discomfort to infection, it typically does not directly impact a child's vision. However, if left untreated, the infection or inflammation caused by the blocked tear duct could potentially lead to vision problems and long-term eye damage.

Will my insurance cover blocked tear duct treatment or surgery?

At Pediatric Ophthalmology of Erie, we are proud to accept a number of major insurance plans from providers in the region. We strive to make healthcare more accessible and affordable for our patients so that they can receive the highest quality of care, which is why we also suggest calling your provider before scheduling. This helps to ensure that you don't incur any surprise costs.

How can I get started with the best pediatric eye surgeons in Erie, PA?

Our easy-to-use online tool makes scheduling an appointment with us simple and convenient. Alternatively, if you prefer a more personal touch or need any assistance, we are just a phone call away. Our friendly team is always ready to help set up your child's visit and answer any of your questions!

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(814) 454-6307Appointments