At some point during growth, your baby might experience a minor issue with their eyes in the form of a blocked tear duct. For new parents, this might sound like a serious matter but do keep a calm head and be at ease as blocked tear ducts are relatively common among newborns and this is just a normal phase for your little darling.
With that said, how can you resolve this issue? Dr Livia’s insights (and sights, get it?) from Singapore National Eye Centre Oculoplastics Department will help shed light on this matter.
What is Newborn Tear Duct Massage?
Before we delve deeper into the solution, you will need to know beforehand about Newborn Tear Duct massage, the reason behind its implementation and how it should be applied to your baby. Now back to the main question, what is Newborn Tear Duct Massage? Newborn Tear Duct Massage is also known as the Crigler massage. True to its name, this massage is meant to overcome the point of blockage in your newborn’s clogged tear ducts. Thus, it helps reduce irritations on your newborn’s eyes and helps them to see better!
Why Would Your Baby Need a Newborn Tear Duct Massage?
Newborn Tear Ducts massage is a great way to treat the issue in your newborn’s tear ducts. Your little darling’s tear duct is known as a tube that drains tears from their eyes into the nose. This delicate tube is generally clogged at the lowest point where it drains into the nose. Thus, this massage would do wonders for your baby as it clears up the blockage in your newborn’s tear ducts.
A blocked tear duct would usually lead to sticky eyes, an occurrence which is quite common among newborns. This condition would usually resolve by itself when your newborn turns a year old or after 12 months have passed. It is also worth noting that up to 40% of children from East Asian families (E.g: Chinese, Koreans) can be born with this condition. This matter will resolve naturally too as children get older.
How Should You Perform Newborn Tear Duct Massage to Your Baby?
First and foremost, you will need to make sure that your hand is clean, washed, and sanitised properly before applying this massage on your little bundle of joy. Gently place your little finger of his or her eyelid while your child is nursing or sleeping. Keep in mind to be delicate and apply gentle pressure in this corner with small circular motions. This is then followed by a stroking downward movement along the side of their nose.
Repeat the downwards stroking step for about 10 times on the side of the teary eye, it is important to note that this massage can be performed three times in a day.
Should You Be Concerned if Your Child Still Have Sticky Eyes After One Year of Age?
You can schedule an appointment or consultation with a tear ducts specialists from the oculoplastics department at the Singapore National Eye Centre. In the event of a serious eye infection or irritation, a minor surgical procedure can be performed to probe and syringe the ducts open.
In a nutshell, while sticky eyes in newborns are common and will go away once they outgrow it, it is better to err on the side of precaution and apply Newborn Tear Duct massage when the need for it arises. Your baby will be happier because of it and there is nothing sweeter for a parent than seeing a bright beaming smile from your little bundles of joy!
We sincerely thank Dr Livia Teo for sharing her knowledge and expertise regarding this topic which greatly contributes to the making of this article.