December 29, 2010

Tear Duct Update

Chase had his yearly eye doctor check-up today - we switched to a different doctor and I was very impressed with his and his staff's rapport with a little two year old and the concise but thorough explanations of everything.

We had talked with the previous doctor about fixing Chase's clogged eye ducts through inserting a tube/balloon into the duct that runs from the eye into the nose. His long colds had resulted in very gunky eyes, but when his cold finally went away the gunk left too. Thinking the problem was solved, we never scheduled the surgery - I assumed the issue had disappeared.

What I didn't realize was that Chase's eyes are perpetually very moist and although tears do not overflow (when he's not crying), his eyes are usually wet. This is apparently one of the symptoms of a clogged tear duct, and the doctor and nurse both commented immediately about it.

The doctor's ultimate opinion is that yes, the tear ducts are blocked, and yes, we'll need to do something about it. Before scheduling a surgery, we will be keeping a 2-month diary about his symptoms and will try a five-day antibiotic eye drop.

Although some people have commented that the tear duct issue is mostly a cosmetic problem with the surgery simply remedying the appearance of tearing eyes, I found out today that this is not the case. Blocked tear ducts lead to little infections in the corner of the eyes, and those infections lead to scarring in the tube leading from the eye to the nose. So I felt reassured that this was actually a medically necessary procedure rather than a preference of not having my son's eyes wet and gunky.

We see the ENT sometime during the second week of January and will again be broaching the issue of ear tubes. If the ENT says to schedule the ear tube surgery, we will probably decide to go ahead and have the tear ducts at the same time. But thank goodness that we only have to deal with these little surgeries, as we have watched friends deal with larger issues with their little ones with Down syndrome these past couple weeks and months. Many things to be thankful for as we ring in the New Year!


  1. Hey Meredith, I'd love to know the name of the new eye doctor you're seeing. We're not thrilled with Auden's, especially the endless waits during our appointments.

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

    -Josh Greenbaum

  2. We're now with the Thomas Eye Group located at St. Joe's (and lots of other locations apparently) and see Dr. Levine who is fantastic. Chase loved both him and his nurses and they really enjoyed examining him. They seemed to be very careful in telling me the kinds of things to look out for - both things related to my concerns as well as other issues that I simply needed to look for in general. They listened to me, and even gave me the doctor's top secret private phone number in case I needed to contact him. We didn't wait more than 5-10 minutes to be seen though I did have to wait several weeks for an appointment.