In this video, I wanted to talk about tearing in children, its most common causes, and what we do to treat them. Up to 10% of children are born with tearing in one or both of their eyes. In most children, this will clear up within a few weeks. In others, it may last for several months or even past a year. Knowing what the causes are and when to treat are very important. Our tear drainage system forms near the end of fetal development, and it is a series of tubes that allow our tears to be carried from the surface of the eye down into the nose where we then swallow them. In children, the most common place this gets blocked is right where the tears enter the nose. A small flap of tissue often does not completely open. In most children, it just causes the eye to be watery and fill up with mucus. In a few children, it can cause infection and a large lump to form near the inner corner of the eye. Except in cases of infection, we wait until the child is one year of age to probe the tear drain.

Ninety to ninety-five percent of children will resolve spontaneously before a year. Probing the tear drain is done under anesthesia and involves running a thin, smooth, metal probe down the tear duct to open the blocked valve. In most children, this will resolve the problem. A few will need repeat probing or possibly a stent placed to hold up the duct and allow it to stay open. Rarely is more aggressive surgery necessary to bypass the blockage.

Pediatric Tearing Causes and Treatment Options

Dr. Matheson Harris discusses the causes and treatment options for pediatric tearing. He discusses the most common blockage in the tear duct that causes the excessive tearing.