The lacrimal sac helps drain excess tears from the eye. The sac starts near the inner corner of the eye and runs along the side of the nose. Tears move through tear ducts into this sac. The tears are then passed out into the nasal passages.
Dacryocystitis is swelling and irritation of this sac.
Dacryocystitis is caused by a blocked tear duct. Tears become trapped in the sac and form a pool. Bacteria can then begin to grow in the tear pool and create an infection. Both the trapped tears and infection will cause swelling and irritation.
Blocked Tear Duct
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Dacryocystitis is most common in infants with blocked tear ducts. Other factors that may increase your chance of dacryocystitis include:
Dacryocystitis may cause:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. Your eye will be examined. The diagnosis can be made by appearance. Fluid samples may be taken from the eye or sac. The fluid will be examined for bacteria. This test will help determine which antibiotic may work best.
If you have a tear duct blockage but no signs of infection your doctor may recommend:
Antibiotics may be prescribed if there is an infection caused by bacteria. They usually given orally. Severe infections may need IV antibiotics.
The cause of the tear duct blockage may need to be investigated. This may require additional procedures or treatment such as:
American Medical Association
Nemours Kid's Health
Dacryocystitis. University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center website. Available at: http://www.kellogg.umich.edu/theeyeshaveit/red-eye/dacryocystitis.html. Accessed November 4, 2015.
Dacryocystitis and canaliculitis. Patient UK website. Available at: http://patient.info/doctor/dacryocystitis-and-canaliculitis. Updated January 14, 2015. Accessed November 4, 2015.
Nasolacrimal duct obstruction. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113767/Nasolacrimal-duct-obstruction. Updated February 15, 2011. Accessed September 28, 2016.
Last reviewed November 2015 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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