Friday, January 16, 2015

Blocked Tear Duct

So, apparently Noni's right tear duct is blocked.  It's been the case since early in her life, and because of it her right eye is usually wet and the eyelashes are usually stuck together (unlike those of the left eye which are always dry and fluffy.)

Through research I've learned that this is caused by tears not being able to properly drain out of the eye because the channel through which they'd normally flow--the tear duct--is blocked or not fully developed.  Therefore, tears--which the eye glands naturally produce to keep eyes moist--build up on the eye and have no place to go.  As a result, the eye is just wet.  Every once in a while when she wakes up the eye is "glued" shut.  (Usually it'll open after a few attempts at blinking, then we wipe it with a moist cloth.)

I've read that this happens in about 1 in 20 newborns and usually clears up after a few weeks or months.  Consulting an eye specialist is advised if it persists after 12 months.

The main thing that we've done to help improve the situation (and it has improved drastically since she was a newborn), is massage the tear duct by gently pressing a finger on the nose near the top (around the corner of the inner eye) and stroking downward towards the bottom of the nose.  This can also be done using a warm, damp cloth.  It's advised that this be done for 5-10 strokes, a few times a day.  

At first she always enjoyed the massage, but as she got older and way more active, she'd try to get away when I did it.  It's always funny to her when it's done, but being so full of energy, she'd have to make the effort to get away just because.   I stopped massaging as much but started back with it on a regular basis here lately to try to help the tear duct act right once and for all.

As someone who was prescribed glasses at the age of 2, I get a little bit anxious when it comes to matters dealing with Baby's eyes, mainly because I just want her to have great eye health.  Wearing thick glasses as a small child is not fun, at least in my experience. 

It's interesting that her right eye has this going on, because at birth her left eye was kind of lazy. For several weeks it didn't always open right away and had a broken blood vessel inside.  That ended up just being something related to all the pressure of coming down the birth canal and went away completely. (You may recall my own eye blood vessel problems after giving birth.)  We both had it sorta of rough!

Last week I ordered the herb Eyebright so that I can make her (and me) an eye wash that may help with this situation and promote eye health overall.  Thankfully it seems that her vision is great, so we don't anticipate any problems with that specifically.  We just hope to get the tear drainage problem under control. 

One thing's for sure: wet eye or not, she's looking to have a ball every day anyway! :)

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