Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Spontaneous resolution rates in congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction managed with massage or topical antibiotics compared with observation alone


Background/aims To determine if nasolacrimal massage or topical antibiotics are associated with higher rates of resolution compared with observation alone in a population-based cohort of infants with congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction (CNLDO).

Methods The medical records of all children <5 years diagnosed with CNLDO while residing in Olmsted County, Minnesota from 1 January 1995 through 31 December 2004 were retrospectively reviewed for type of management and non-surgical resolution of tearing.

Results Among 1958 infants diagnosed and followed for CNLDO, 516 (26.4%) were merely observed, 506 (25.8%) were prescribed massage alone, 485 (24.8%) were prescribed at least one course of topical antibiotics, 397 (20.3%) were prescribed both topical antibiotics and massage, and 54 (2.8%) had no documented therapy. Non-surgical resolution, occurring in 1669 (85.2%) during a median follow-up of 3.1 months (range: 1 week–248 months), was 74.6% for the merely observed, 89.7% for those prescribed digital massage, 87.0% for those prescribed antibiotics and 90.7% for those treated with both. This comparison was significant in unadjusted (p<0.001) and multivariable comparisons (p<0.001).

Conclusion Prescribing topical antibiotics or digital massage for infants with CNLDO in this cohort, individually or in combination, was associated with a higher rate of spontaneous resolution than observation alone.

  • lacrimal drainage
  • treatment other

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. All data are available in a REDCap website database from

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles

  • Highlights from this issue
    Frank Larkin