Syringe and probing of blocked nasolacrimal ducts of the eyes

Syringe and probing of blocked nasolacrimal ducts of the eyes

Probing and syringing of the tear duct may be necessary for children with persistent watery eyes and recurrent conjunctivitis. One or both eyes may be affected.

Description of procedure

Probing and syringing is usually a quick procedure where a fine probe is passed through the tear duct to clear the blockage or to widen the tear duct. Sometimes a dye is then passed through to check that the duct is clear.

Length of hospital stay

It is not normally necessary for your child to stay overnight in hospital.

Preparation for surgery

Your child's anaesthetist will meet with you and your child before the operation to outline the type of anaesthesia to be used, and will welcome any questions you have.  Premedication may be ordered at this time. This usually takes the form of a medicine to be swallowed that will provide pain relief, sedation or both. If it is planned to start the anaesthesia by injection, local anaesthetic cream can be put on at this time to numb the area of skin where the intravenous needle/drip is to be put in.

Length of procedure

Your child will be away from you for approximately 20 minutes.

After surgery

Slight redness of the eyes and a small amount of blood (or dye) in the tears is common. There may be blood in the nostrils if the tear duct was difficult to unblock. Your child will need to stay in Day Surgery for approximately 1 hour after surgery but may need to stay a little longer.

Pain relief

Paracetamol (Panadol) may be given 4-6 hourly for 24 hours if required. If your child's pain relief is not adequate, please contact your family doctor.

Diet and fluids

There is no need for a special diet following this procedure, but it is recommended your child not eat greasy foods as these may cause vomiting. Do not be concerned if your child vomits once or twice after leaving hospital, but if they are unable to keep fluids down and continue to vomit, please contact your family doctor.

Discharge care

Your doctor may prescribe eye medication. If so, the pharmacist will explain how to apply it. Bright light may cause discomfort.

You may not notice any improvement in the eye/eyes for up to two weeks due to swelling associated with the procedure. If there is no improvement after four weeks please make an appointment with your child's original eye doctor.

** Always wash your hands before and after cleaning and treating the eye.

Follow up appointments

Your nurse or doctor will discuss follow up appointments with you.

A follow up appointment is not usually necessary unless the problem is not resolved after a month but if you are concerned or if your child is having problems, please contact your family doctor.

Return to school and sport

Normally the day after surgery

If you have any concerns after discharge please telephone the Paediatric Day Unit (08) 8161 7448, Monday - Friday 7.30am - 6.30pm, or see your Family Doctor.

Back to Ophthalmology


Last Modified: 30-03-2009 15:10:42
URL: http://www.wch.sa.gov.au/services/az/divisions/psurg/opt/ducts.html
Printed from the Women's and Childrens WWW site.