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Why is there continuous discharge from a child's eyes?

Q: I have a nephew who is just 4 months old. Since his birth his right eye discharges water and most of the times when he wakes up from sleep his eye is glued with the yellow sticky substance. I don't know the medical term for that. We clean his eyes regularly but the problem persists. His current paediatrician says that its because of improper tear opening site or stuff, which will become normal with time. I wanted to know that by administering antibiotics or any other stuff, will he be normal and also is there any risk of surgery later on if this problem is neglected at this stage. Should we show the child to an eye specialist?

A:Your baby has congenital dacrocystitis which means that the nasolacrimal duct which connects the eye to nose, is blocked. It predisposes the baby to have watering of eyes and repeated eye discharge. It is a benign condition which settles with time. Only thing you have to do is to keep the eye clean and put some antibiotic eye drops if there is dirty discharge from the eye. Another useful thing is massage of the nasolacrimal duct which your paediatrician or the opthalmologist will be able to explain to you. Regarding any sort of surgical intervention, a procedure called syringing is very rarely required in occasional baby with this problem which is done only after 9 months to 1 year of age. But I can reassure you that this is required very occasionally and most likely it would not be required in your baby.


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