Lacrimal (Tear Duct) Probing in Children – With or Without Tubes
Children born with a blocked tear duct can often be cured by a probing under general anesthesia. A thin silicone tube is sometimes left in place to keep the tear duct open. This is usually performed at about one year of age, but under certain conditions may be done earlier or later. Dr. Schiller works with selected anesthesiologists who specialize in children’s anesthesia, to make the experience as safe and comfortable for the child (and parents!) as possible. At some hospitals, the parents are allowed into the operating room to hold the child as he or she goes to sleep.
A blocked tear duct causes the eye to fill with tears, interfering with vision, and can cause serious infections. If the tear duct leading to the nose is blocked, surgery can create a new one. It is performed as an outpatient, under sedation and local anesthesia. A thin clear silicone tube often remains in the reconstructed tear duct for several months and is removed in the office. The surgery takes under an hour, and in selected cases is successful in over 95% of the time.
A Jones’ tube may be necessary if the part of the lacrimal system in the eyelid, the canaliculus, is blocked. This glass tube is implanted permanently from the eyelid to the nose, and conducts the tears away from the eye. The surgery is performed with the aid of the endoscope to verify that the tube is placed properly in the nose.