Congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction (CNLDO) occurs in pediatric patients when the nasolacrimal duct, which is responsible for draining tears from the eye to the nasal cavity, is blocked or underdeveloped. However, not all cases of tearing in infants are due to CNLDO. Other conditions can mimic the symptoms of CNLDO, and it is essential to make an accurate diagnosis to provide appropriate treatment.
Acquired nasolacrimal duct obstruction (ANLDO) may occur due to trauma, inflammation, or tumors in the area, and it presents similarly to CNLDO. Punctal or canalicular atresia is another condition that can cause excessive tearing in infants. In this condition, the small openings that allow tears to drain from the eye into the nasolacrimal duct are either absent or closed, leading to a buildup of tears on the surface of the eye. Dacryocystitis, an infection of the tear drainage system, can also cause tearing in infants. Symptoms of dacryocystitis include redness, swelling, and discharge from the affected eye. Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is another common cause of tearing in infants. This condition can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or allergies and typically presents with redness and discharge from the affected eye. In rare cases, a corneal foreign body can cause tearing in infants. This occurs when a small particle, such as a piece of dirt or metal, becomes lodged in the surface of the eye. Finally, congenital glaucoma can also cause excessive tearing in infants. This condition occurs when the pressure inside the eye is elevated, leading to damage to the optic nerve and potential blindness if left untreated.
In conclusion, while CNLDO is a common condition in pediatric patients, other conditions can mimic its symptoms, and it is important to consider a differential diagnosis to provide appropriate treatment. If you suspect that your child has excessive tearing, it is essential to seek an evaluation from a qualified ophthalmologist.