To determine the success rate of initial probing in children with congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction at different ages, using nasal endoscopy.
Fifty eyes of 38 consecutive children with congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction underwent endoscopic nasolacrimal duct probing under general anaesthesia. Patients were followed up for at least three months. Probing success was defined as complete remission of symptoms and a normal fluorescein dye disappearance test result.
The age range of patients was 17-109 months. The success rates of probing were: 100 per cent (29 out of 29) for cases of stenosis at the lower nasolacrimal duct, 100 per cent (7 out of 7) for functional epiphora cases and 92.86 per cent (13 out of 14) for nasolacrimal atresia cases. Overall, there was only one child for whom the probing treatment for nasolacrimal duct obstruction was not successful; this child had Down's syndrome and a more complex developmental abnormality of the nasolacrimal duct. Age and site of obstruction were not found to significantly affect the outcome of probing.
Probing of the nasolacrimal system using an endoscopic approach allows direct visualisation of the nasolacrimal duct. This can facilitate diagnosis of the anomaly and significantly increase the procedure success rate.