What is Normal Tear Production and What Causes a Blocked Tear Duct?
In order to fight dirt and debris, our eyes cover themselves with a three-layer moisture barrier called the tear film. The first main middle watery layer comes from the lacrimal gland which is located in the upper area of the eyes.
When we blink, the eyelids will spread the tears down to the rest of the surface. The second thin oily (lipid) layer comes from the meibomian glands which are located within the eyelids. The last layer is the thin innermost mucous layer which provides the cornea with nourishment and sticks the tear to the surface of the eyes.
Normally, tears produced by the eyes later drain through the canaliculi (small channels) into a tear sac. From here, it flows through a channel called the tear duct (or nasolacrimal duct) and into the nose. When a person’s tears can’t be drained thoroughly, he/she might develop a blocked tear duct.
Although it can happen at any age, blocked tear ducts happen most often in newborns and toddlers.
Symptoms of a Blocked Tear Duct in Children
The following are the symptoms of the condition in children. However, tear duct blockage can occur in one eye too.
- The eye becomes watery or tears heavily.
- Yellowish or white pus discharge in the corner of the eye. The eyelid can be stuck together.
- Crusted mucus along the eyelashes.
- Mild redness and swelling around the eye or nose.
Parents, if your child has a complete blockage, he/she will experience these symptoms. However, in some conditions, you may notice the symptoms when he/she has a nose blockage or he/she is producing extra tears. This condition is called partial blockage.