How to Diagnose And Treat Neonatal Dacryocystitis?

How to Diagnose And Treat Neonatal Dacryocystitis

What Is Neonatal Dacryocystitis?

The neonatal dacryocystitis is the inflammation of the lacrimal sac. Tears are produced frequently due to the blocked nasolacrimal duct. About 10% of newborn babies suffer from this issue. This condition is also known as the infection of the lacrimal sacs or tear sacs.

Tear sacs are located in the lower corner of each eye. The child can experience irritation, redness, discomfort, and pain due to this condition. The gooey discharge comes out of each eye in this condition. Therefore, it is important to treat this condition quickly to keep the child happy.

Proper treatment is required to cure infantile dacryocystitis. This post is going to reveal the causes, symptoms, and treatment procedure for this health condition.

What Are the Causes of Neonatal Dacryocystitis?

The nasolacrimal duct is responsible for carrying tears from the lacrimal sac to the nasal cavity. Usually, the tear duct valve ruptures due to the squeezed birth canal. It offers a safe passage for tears.

Things do not go the same for all newborn babies. The nasolacrimal duct valve does not rupture in some cases. Tears produced in the baby’s eyes do not drain naturally. Those tears start accumulating in the lacrimal sac. It seems like the child is in pain and crying.

Some people will say there is nothing to worry about if tears are accumulating in the lacrimal sac. It should worry all parents because the baby’s eyes can turn into a safe breeding ground for germs. It can cause other eye infections. Therefore, it is quite essential to know what causes infantile dacryocystitis.


The child experiences paranasal sinuses inflammation due to sinusitis. Mucus is produced in nasal passages and it also increases the risks of nasolacrimal duct valve clogging. Autoimmune reaction and bacterial infections are considered mainly responsible for sinusitis.

Nasal abscess

This condition can occur due to trauma and it can lead to dacryocystitis. Quick diagnosis of this cause allows the doctor to perform surgical drainage quickly if necessary.

Trauma to the blocked region

The valve at the end of the nasolacrimal duct can get clogged due to some shock or strain to this region. It can happen at the time of birth and it can be daunting to recognize immediately.

Nasal passage tumors

Some cells in the nasal cavity and paranasal sinus can get malignant. This condition can cause cancer and tumors. Nasal passage tumor is a potential cause of dacryocystitis, but it is highly unlikely in newborn babies.  

Staphylococcus bacterial infection

Staphylococcus bacteria are considered responsible for strep or staph infections. It can also cause infantile dacryocystitis in newborn babies. Therefore, the bacterial infection should not be ruled out!

What Are the Types of Dacryocystitis?

It can be chronic or acute. Let’s find out how both conditions are different:

Acute dacryocystitis

The child will show acute dacryocystitis symptoms suddenly. You can spot pus in the baby’s eyes and he may suffer from fever. Acute dacryocystitis is mainly caused by bacterial infection. The doctor will provide antibiotic to the child to treat the infection and reduce discomfort.

Chronic dacryocystitis

Your newborn baby won’t show symptoms suddenly in case of chronic dacryocystitis. The symptoms will be pretty mild and less severe. There won’t be pus in the child’s eyes and no fever at all.

Suppose the baby is crying frequently, it can be due to pain and discomfort in his eyes. You should take the child for an eye checkup if other health conditions are ruled out. Chronic dacryocystitis troubles many people of different ages. Its symptoms can cure pretty fast.  

What Are the Symptoms of Neonatal Dacryocystitis?

The following symptoms indicate the child is suffering from infantile dacryocystitis:

  • Watery eyes
  • Tears
  • Eyelid eczema

The baby will always have watery eyes due to chocked tear ducts. Tears usually pass through the nasal passage. Those tears stay in the child’s eyes in case of dacryocystitis. Therefore, it seems like the child crying or in pain.  

You can spot a lump in your baby’s lacrimal sac. There will be redness, irritation, swelling around eyelids, and acute inflammation. The baby may cry a lot due to pain and irritation. Therefore, these symptoms should not be ignored because the problem can get worse.

How to Diagnose Dacryocystitis?

Dacryocystitis diagnosis is quite simple. The healthcare provider will first ask parents about the baby’s medical history. You should have medical reports if the child was facing some health issues earlier. The doctor will then check the child’s eyes for the symptoms, such as redness and swelling.  

The doctor will proceed ahead and gently press on the lacrimal sac. Further screening won’t be necessary if the lacrimal sac discharges pus. A tiny amount of that pus will be taken for testing bacteria.

The dye disappearance test

This test is quite effective when it comes to diagnosing dacryocystitis. The healthcare provider will put a tiny amount of dye in the corner of your child’s eye. If that dye disappears, the baby is not suffering from this health issue. If that dye stays in the eye, your baby’s tear ducts are clogged.

Checking the level of blockage

It is quite important to check the level of blockage to provide proper treatment. A specialist doctor will swab inside the baby’s nose. If the dye comes out through the nose after swabbing, it will be considered a partial blockage. Proper treatment can prevent it from troubling the baby in the future.

How to Treat Infantile Dacryocystitis?

Try the following treatments only if your child is diagnosed with infantile dacryocystitis.

Massaging lacrimal duct

Begin the treatment at home by massaging the lacrimal sac. If the swelling disappears slightly after the massage, the residual membrane is removed. Your baby is now fine and no further treatment will be necessary.

Suppose you continue massaging for 6 months and no positive effects are visible, it will be necessary to drain the pus. It is time to take the child to the doctor for pus removal. The doctor will use some antibiotics to exterminate bacteria.

How to massage lacrimal duct?

Follow the below-given tips to massage the child’s tear ducts properly:

  • Remove your nails and then sanitize your hands to prevent further bacterial infection.
  • Hold the baby in the supine position and keep his hands and limbs straight.
  • Ask your partner to hold the child straight when he is awake.
  • Now, use your fingers to massage the baby from the lacrimal sac area to the base of his nose.
  • Apply gentle pressure and maintain that pressure until your fingers reach the base of the nose.

Do this massage 5-6 times a day. You should also drop a few drops of antibiotic eye liquid in the baby’s eyes after the massage. Ask your doctor to prescribe the best eye drop for the baby.

How to treat infantile dacryocystitis with eye drop?

You can clear the clogged tear ducts by using a top-quality eye drop. First, put a few drops of the antibiotic liquid in the child’s eyes. Now, gently massage at the corner of the child’s lower eyelids.

Keep the eye drop liquid container close to the child’s eyes. It will prevent irritation and the medicine will spread easily without hurting the baby. You should also not let the eye drop bottle touch the baby’s eyes. Germs can easily enter the baby’s eyes and cause more troubles.

Make sure your baby does not rub his eyes after you pout the eye drop. Use a clean and dry cotton swab to clean extra liquid pouring out of the child’s eyes. Do not rub the swab over the baby’s eyes because it can cause irritation.

You should always store the eye drop bottle in a clean space. Do not put it somewhere in the kitchen because germs will be all around that bottle. Choose a cool place to store that bottle.

When A Surgical Treatment Is Required To Cure Infantile Dacryocystitis?

Most babies show positive improvements after non-surgical treatment. It doesn’t require when the redness is gone and there is no irritation in the child’s eyes. A surgical cure will be quite necessary when the symptoms get worse. The doctor can suggest one of the following two surgeries:

Lacrimal passage probing operation

This surgical treatment works better for babies and small children. The doctor will suggest this treatment if the medicinal cure is not working. It won’t benefit the baby if the baby got congenital lacrimal duct deformities.  

Lacrimal duct intubation

This treatment is also known as the duct implantation treatment. It is quite a new surgical treatment to cure dacryocystitis when the symptoms got severe. This operation promises a quick recovery and no inflammation or tear duct blockage in the future.


Dacryocystitis troubles every person. It gets cured automatically in most cases. Newborn babies can’t deal with irritation and pain caused by blocked tear ducts. Therefore, quick diagnosis and proper treatment are necessary to comfort the child. Parents can prevent some causes and observe the symptoms to protect the baby from neonatal dacryocystitis.

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