How to treat neonatal dacryocystitis

Maternal and child health

How to Treat Neonatal Dacryocystitis

Too-Yourhealth

What is Neonatal Dacryocystitis?

Neonatal dacryocystitis is a condition that occurs when the tear duct (nasolacrimal duct) of a newborn baby becomes blocked. This can cause tears to build up and overflow from the eye, leading to symptoms such as:

Excessive tearing

Discharge from the eye

Crusting or matting of the eyelashes

Swollen and red eyelid

Pain or discomfort in the eye

Causes of Neonatal Dacryocystitis

In most cases, neonatal dacryocystitis is caused by a membrane or fold of tissue that covers the opening of the tear duct. This membrane usually breaks down and opens up on its own within the first few weeks of life. However, in some cases, the membrane remains intact, blocking the tear duct.

Other factors that can contribute to neonatal dacryocystitis include:

Infection

Allergies

Nasal congestion

Narrow tear ducts

Diagnosis of Neonatal Dacryocystitis

To diagnose neonatal dacryocystitis, your doctor will typically:

Examine your baby's eye to look for symptoms of the condition

Press on the tear sac (located at the inner corner of the eye) to see if any pus or discharge is released

Instill fluorescein dye into the eye and check if the dye drains properly through the tear duct

Treatment of Neonatal Dacryocystitis

The treatment for neonatal dacryocystitis typically involves:

1. Nasolacrimal Massage

Nasolacrimal massage is a gentle technique that can help to open up the blocked tear duct. To perform nasolacrimal massage:

Wash your hands thoroughly.

Place your index finger on the inner corner of your baby's eye, next to the nose.

Gently massage down towards the nose for 5-10 minutes, several times a day.

2. Warm Compresses

Applying warm compresses to your baby's eye can help to reduce swelling and promote drainage. To apply a warm compress:

Soak a clean washcloth in warm water.

Wring out any excess water.

Place the warm compress over your baby's closed eye for 10-15 minutes, several times a day.

3. Antibiotics

If your baby's dacryocystitis is caused by an infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment.

4. Surgery

In cases where other treatments have not been successful, surgery may be necessary to open up the blocked tear duct. This procedure is called probing or dacryocystorhinostomy.

Prognosis

With proper treatment, most cases of neonatal dacryocystitis resolve within a few weeks or months. However, in some cases, the condition may become chronic and require long-term treatment.

Prevention

There is no sure way to prevent neonatal dacryocystitis. However, you can help to reduce your baby's risk of developing the condition by:

Keeping your baby's eyes clean and dry

Massaging your baby's tear sac gently for the first few weeks of life

Seeking medical attention if you notice any symptoms of dacryocystitis in your baby

When to Seek Medical Attention

It is important to seek medical attention if your baby has any of the following symptoms:

Excessive tearing

Discharge from the eye

Crusting or matting of the eyelashes

Swollen and red eyelid

Pain or discomfort in the eye

Fever

If left untreated, neonatal dacryocystitis can lead to serious complications, such as corneal ulceration, uveitis, and even blindness. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention promptly if you notice any symptoms of the condition in your baby.

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