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What is overflow tearing?

Abnormal or overflow eye tearing is a common condition in infants. In fact, approximately one-third of all newborns have excessive tears and mucus. It occurs when a membrane (a skin-like tissue) in the nose fails to open before birth, blocking part of the tear drainage system. If tears do not drain properly, they can collect inside the tear drainage system and spill over the eyelid onto the cheek.

The tear sac can also become infected, which may lead to the development of conjunctivitis, commonly known as “pink eye.” You should contact your primary care physician or ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) if the discharge becomes thicker or changes color from white to yellow or green, or the white of the eye becomes red.

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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.