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How is a baby's overflow tearing treated?

Your ophthalmologist may recommend:

  • Cleaning the eyelids with warm water, with or without baby shampoo;
  • Applying pressure (or massage) over the lacrimal sac;
  • Applying antibiotic eyedrops or ointment to the eye once or twice daily to fight infection, if necessary.

The purpose of massage is to put pressure on the lacrimal sac to pop open the membrane at the bottom of the tear duct. This is most easily accomplished by placing your hands on each side of the baby’s face with your index finger(s) between the inner corner of the eye and the side of the nose, pressing in and down over the lacrimal sac for a few seconds. This should be done several times a day, such as at each diaper change.

The blocked tear duct often spontaneously opens within six to 12 months after birth. If overflow tearing persists, it may be necessary for your ophthalmologist to open the obstruction surgically by passing a probe through the tear duct.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.