Blocked Tear Duct

  • A blocked tear duct is a very common, non-infectious, cause of eye goop and crusting in the first ten months of life.
    • The eye goop can be green, yellow, or clear.
    • The amount of discharge produced usually surprises caregiver, and is also normal.
  • The tear duct normally drains tears when the eye makes them.
  • These ducts are small and easily blocked by debris during the first ten months of life.
  • When this happens, the tears don’t drain properly and accumulate into eye goop and crust.
  • The whites of the eye are not red because there is no infection.
    • Wiping away the goop should be done sparingly (for example, if they can’t open the eye because of the crusting).
    • Wiping should only be done with sterile products to avoid introducing bacteria from tap water or a “clean” washcloth on your shelf.
    • Saline water and gauze pads are good options for wiping the goop if you need to. 
  • The blocked tear ducts usually come and go, often including both eyes, throughout the first 9-10 months of life months of life.
  • Examples of blocked tear ducts: