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What does the treatment involve?

A tear duct probing is a treatment procedure that is performed on children between the age of 9 months and three years of age approximately to fix a congenital tear duct obstruction.  

It is more of a procedure than surgery per se, since it aims to re-establish the physiological tear duct, without any kind of aggresive surgical procedure.

When is this treatment indicated?

In actual fact, all children are born with a physiological obstruction of the tear duct. More than that, it takes around two weeks for the tear duct to open after birth. 

After this time, the tear duct opens allowing tears to drain normally, and at no time do the eyes water. Some children, however, take a very long time to clear the duct, which means they often suffer epiphora on the affected side. 

Six months is considered an appropriate period to allow the duct to settle itself. After that period, a tear duct exploration should be considered. 

How is it performed?

Despite being a very quick and non-aggressive procedure, because of the young age of the patients to be treated, it is performed under mild sedation which keeps the child calm, drowsy and free from pain. 

A tear duct probe is passed through the affected duct in order to clear it in the simplest and most atraumatic way possible.


The results of the tear duct probe depend more on the age of the child than the technique itself. It is a very easy technique, the success rate of which is practically one hundred percent if performed on children around one year old.

The percentage rate reduces significantly if we wait too long to perform it, and that is because the closed area ossifies for good and it may be impossible to clear it with just one probing. 

Possible risks

The probing is very safe, quick and efficient. There is still the possibility of making a false duct if it is not performed carefully, but in expert hands this complication does not occur under any circumstances.

Professionals who perform this treatment

Frequently asked questions