Q: My three-month-old’s eyes are always teary — even when he’s not crying. Is this normal?
A: It sounds as if your baby has blocked tear ducts. Tears, an important part of natural eye protection, are produced in a tear duct in the upper outer corner of the eye, and drained away through another duct in the lower nasal corner. In about five percent of babies, this lower duct is somewhat blocked, causing tears to run out of the eye. In most cases, the blockage goes away on its own. There is no real treatment, but some doctors recommend gentle massage against the nasal area. If the discharge becomes yellow or the eye itself is red, see your doctor. In rare cases, the nasal duct becomes red and swollen — this infection can be more serious and is usually treated with antibiotics. If the blocked duct doesn’t resolve on its own by a year, a referral to an ophthalmologist is appropriate.
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