Holistic method of unblocking a tear duct (without surgery)

Feb. 8, 2008
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As mentioned in my previous blog, I am not a medical professional. I often try alternative treatments instead of or in addition to mainstream medical treatment. Today I'm writing about my daughter, Maddie, who had a problem with both tear ducts. It was apparent when she was born; she had a swollen area underneath her eye, up against her nose.

The pediatrician told me that I could gently rub the bump in hopes of loosening whatever was clogging in there, so I did. And did, and did. Maddie did not enjoy it, to say the least, but I wanted to avoid any discussion of surgery down the road. I'd say within a week it "blew." Goo and gunk came out, and it seemed like the problem was solved. It turned out that wasn't the case, since the other duct was clogged as well, but there was no visible exterior sign in the beginning.


The winter Maddie was a year old, she had several eye and ear infections, and all required topical and oral antibiotics. We found these infections were instigated by a plugged tear duct. That May I took her to see a pediatric ophthalmologist who said there was little chance the duct would open up on its own since she was well over a year old.The doctor said there was no harm in waiting a little longer before SURGERY.

My husband and I did not want our little girls eye probed, and we definitely did not want her to have a general anesthetic. The holistic physical therapist who had been treating our son Ben for almost a year (Autism Spectrum Disorder) suggested Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT).We decided to try the non-invasive IMT approach.



In early July (2006) I brought Madeline to see the head of Center IMT, Sharon Wieselfish Giammatteo. She is based in CT but makes one or two trips a year to Elmhurst, IL. She discovered the plugged tear duct was a result of a bigger issue in her lung. To be honest with you, part of me was saying, well, OKAY, sureBut our son had been doing so well, and we went along with Sharon's treatment plan. We are so thankful we did.After 4 hours over the course of a few weeks, we were told Maddies lung was clear, and we could now begin treatment on her eye.


What we did not expect was to find that our beautiful little girl really loves hugs. For the first 18 months of her life she would not sit still for us to hold her. All hugs resulted in firm shoves away from her. We assumed this was her personality and that she did not like to be hugged. It saddened us, but what could we do? By the end of July, she was holding her arms out to us, saying hug, hug, hug! and giving as good as she got.We were overjoyed (and I cried).

The blocked tear duct and infection remained.It took several more hours to work through the issues surrounding the eye itself. Maddie could only handle an hour of treatment at a time, so in the meantime we had to unglue Maddies eye several times a day with a warm soapy cloth.It was disheartening, since we were already well into September. Then, on September 30, 2006, the therapist said she believed the eye issue was resolved. Sure enough, a year and a half later, I still have not had to take a washcloth to her eye.

The other upside is that Maddie became so incredibly happy. She laughed and sang so much more, cried much less. When I put myself in her shoes, I realize I would not have been pleased having a constantly irritating eye infection for many months like Maddie had.Of course her mood improved, and our entire family is still enjoying it.



The process took a lot longer than a day with surgery, but Ive got to believe it was less traumatic for Maddie. Additionally, the surgery would never have addressed the lung issue which was causing her great discomfort. Also, we would have missed out on many, many hugs and her lovely, now consistently happy personality.

The other point I would like to make is that the duct would not have opened on its own.According the pediatric ophthalmologist, there was virtually no chance of that after she turned 18 months.This is my evidence that IMT was the only factor in the positive changes that occurred.

I just brought Maddie in yesterday for her 3 year appointment with the pediatric ophthalmologist. The doctor seemed surprised that there was no longer any evidence of the astigmatism that was present at Maddie's 18 month appointment. I told her about the manual therapy. She said the blockage could have resolved on its own, although unlikely at 20 months of age.

The problem with most holistic treatments is that the proof will always be considered anecdotal by the mainstream medical community. It could have resolved on its own, antibiotics worked this time, she grew out of it, it was all in her mind, etc. I've had such positive results that I don't need validation from the mainstream medical community. Don't get me wrong- I always start mainstream. When I have a tumor, I usually have it cut out. Sinus infection? Yes, I'll take an antibiotic if it doesn't go away on its own. But it helps to keep an open mind, and yes, question authority at times. There is so much out there now (good and bad, so be careful), so many options that help to get to root causes instead of just treating symptoms.


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