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Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."

Lack of Emotions

Question: We have a healthy 9.5 month old daughter who doesn't have tears welling in her eyes/rolling down her face when she cries. Is this something we should be concerned with? Dena

Answer: Tears are important for cleansing the eyes as well as keeping them lubricated, thus preventing abrasions and potential infections.

Tear duct obstruction (blockage of a valve at the nasolacrimal duct opening into the nose) spontaneously resolves in the first few months of life (80-90%). After 12 months, the chances are less likely that it will go away on it's own.

Has your daughter ever teared without crying? Does she wake up with crusty eyes? As an infant, did she have tearing at all?

In an infant that tears constantly, nasolacrimal duct obstruction (tear duct obstruction) can be treated with gentle massage of the lacrimal duct sac. This will usually open the duct and allow drainage of tears. If this does not work, probing of the lacrimal duct may be necessary. This procedure is done by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist). It basically opens the duct that is blocking the flow of tears.

At this point, it would be in the best interest of your daughter to be reevaluated to make sure there are no other problems which need to be checked out. The sooner this is taken care of, the less likely she will have any permanent or residual effects.

Dr. Betti

Also see:

  • How do you treat warts on the bottom of the feet?
  • Is it normal for children to stick items up their nose?
  • Ask Dr. Betti your questions

    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.

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