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Arch Ophthalmol. 2012 Jun;130(6):730-4. doi: 10.1001/archophthalmol.2012.454.

Resolution of congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction with nonsurgical management.



To determine how often nasolacrimal duct obstruction (NLDO) resolves with 6 months of nonsurgical management in infants aged 6 to less than 10 months.


As part of a randomized trial evaluating the cost-effectiveness of immediate office probing vs observation with deferred probing for unresolved cases, 107 infants aged 6 to less than 10 months who had NLDO and no history of nasolacrimal duct surgery were prescribed 6 months of nasolacrimal duct massage and topical antibiotics as needed. Resolution of the NLDO was assessed 6 months after study entry and was defined as the absence of all clinical signs of NLDO (epiphora, increased tear lake, or mucous discharge) and not having undergone NLDO surgery. Exploratory analyses assessed whether baseline characteristics, including age, sex, laterality, and prior treatment, were associated with the probability of NLDO resolving without surgery.


At the 6-month examination, which was completed for 117 of the 133 eyes (88%), the NLDO had resolved without surgery in 77 eyes (66% [95% CI, 56%-74%]). None of the baseline characteristics we evaluated were found to be associated with resolution.


In infants 6 to less than 10 months of age, more than half of eyes with NLDO will resolve within 6 months with nonsurgical management. Knowledge of the rate of NLDO resolution in infancy without surgery will help clinicians and parents effectively discuss treatment options.


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