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Incidence and clinical characteristics of congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction
  1. Saraniya Sathiamoorthi1,
  2. Ryan D Frank2,
  3. Brian G Mohney3
  1. 1 Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  2. 2 Department of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  3. 3 Department of Ophthalmology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor Brian G Mohney, Department of Ophthalmology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA; mohney{at}


Background/aims The literature on the prevalence and demographics of congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction (CNLDO) is 30–70 years old and largely comprises small sample sizes. This study provides epidemiological findings of this common disorder from the largest cohort reported to date.

Methods The medical records of all children (<5 years of age) residing in Olmsted County, Minnesota, when diagnosed with CNLDO from 1 January 1995 through 31 December 2004, were reviewed.

Results Of 17 713 newborns born during the 10-year study period, 1998 were diagnosed with CNLDO, yielding a birth prevalence of one in nine live births. The diagnosis was made in approximately 90% by a primary care physician, at a median age of 5 weeks, with no gender predilection. Compared with the reference population, CNLDO was associated with premature birth (p=0.005) and was more prevalent among Caucasians (p<0.001). Two-thirds of patients initially presented with discharge alone, 18% with tearing alone and 15% with both discharge and tearing.

Conclusions In this large population-based cohort, CNLDO occurred in one in nine live births with no gender predilection. Prematurity and Caucasian race were associated with the development of CNLDO. Mucopurulent discharge was a much more common feature than tearing at initial presentation.

  • Child health (paediatrics)
  • Lacrimal drainage
  • Epidemiology

Statistics from


  • Contributors SS and BGM acquired the data. RDF, BGM and SS analysed the data. SS and BGM contributed to the conception and design of the work. All authors contributed to drafting this work or revising it for intellectual content. All authors take responsibility for the accountability and integrity of the work.

  • Funding Design and conduct of the study was made possible in part by an unrestricted grant from Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc. Data collection, management and analysis was supported by the Rochester Epidemiology Project (Grant # R01-AG034676 from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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