Clogged Tear Duct

Kelsey Bonilla Health Guide
  • Tomorrow is the day. After nearly six months of living with a clogged tear duct, Sienna will get some relief. Actually, she's never really seemed bothered by it, but still, I'm sure she doesn't appreciate having green gunk squeezed out of her tear duct everyday. Poor kid.

    So, what Sienna actually has is more than your run-of-the-mill clogged tear duct. I can't remember the medical term, but basically she was born with a little sack inside her tear duct. It continues to fill with green gunk (which actually does not signal an infection according to the pediatric ophthalmologist) and has to be drained two or three times a day, at least. It's a true case of heredity at work, because both my brother and I had clogged tear ducts as infants. My brother's duct actually had to be surgically probed when he was 10 months old.

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    I know it's a minor procedure and it's important that the tear duct be opened and cleaned out to prevent infection. But, I definitely don't like the idea of my little baby being put under general anesthesia. I don't like it one bit. We've had the surgery scheduled for several weeks (she had to be over six months old to have it done) but now that it's getting close, I'm freaking out. At the pre-op appointment last week, the nurse had to ask me a terrible question. She prefaced it by saying, "I hate to ask this, but..." Basically she needed to know whether we'd want everything possible done to save Sienna if something were to go wrong. I gulped, blinked back the tears and whispered, "Yes!"

    Now, I've never been a big worrier. However, motherhood has ignited my inner worrywart (Read Kelsey's last post, "Understanding Motherhood"). When I think about the possibility of anything bad happening to Sienna, all rational thinking escapes me. It's amazing how much you love your child and the thought of losing them is simply devastating.


    The nurse explained to me the sequence of events for the surgery. I'll dress Sienna in a little gown and hold her while she drinks a little "cocktail" (nice description!) that will make her drowsy and calm her down before she's taken from me. After they take her back, she'll get a little gas and an I.V. for the anesthesia. The surgery itself should take less than ten minutes. The doctor will probe the duct and irrigate it with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines.


    She specifically noted their policy to let infants wake up from anesthesia naturally, on their own. A nurse will sit with Sienna while she slowly wakes up. This means that I won't get to see her for nearly an hour after the surgery is completed. Apparently, in the past parents have gotten worried because the doctor came out to tell them everything went well, but then they weren't able to see their child for quite awhile. I'm glad she explained that part; otherwise I'd certainly be wondering what was going on as the minutes slowly passed before I got to see Sienna.


    I know that in the whole scheme of things, a little tear duct probe is not a big deal. But, when it's your precious little child, it sure feels like a major event.

Published On: July 29, 2008