Narrowing of the lacrimal (tear) duct, usually congenital, that blocks the flow of tears.

An infant does not produce a great volume of tears during the first few weeks to months after birth, so the doctor may not suspect or diagnose dacryostenosis until the infant is three to four months of age.

The most common symptom is tears that overflow the eye and run down the face (epiphora). Most infants outgrow dacryostenosis by age six months, so doctors tend to take an approach of watchful waiting.

When dacryostenosis persists, the doctor may dilate the lacrimal duct (under anesthetic) to gently stretch and enlarge the opening for tears to pass unimpeded. Untreated dacryostenosis can result in frequent episodes of dacryocystitis (infected lacrimal ducts) in adulthood. Appropriate treatment can completely resolve this eye condition.


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