Definition of Dacryocystitis

Dacryocystitis – inflammation of the lacrimal (tear) ducts, typically the nasolacrimal ducts in the corners of the eye near the nose . Dacryocystitis develops when there is a blockage of the lacrimal duct, which may result from dacryostenosis (narrowing of the lacrimal duct), infection, or chronic irritation such as might occur with allergic rhinitis or allergic conjunctivitis.

Can be acute (of sudden onset) or chronic (recurrent or long-standing). It also can be congenital (the result of defects of the lacrimal gland and duct structures) or acquired. Most people who have acquired dacryocystitis are over age 65.

Common Symptoms Include

  • Redness and swelling between the eye and the bridge of the nose
  • Rhinitis (runny nose)
  • Pain
  • Overflowing tears
  • Fever when an infection is present

Dacryocystitis Treatment

The doctor can typically diagnose dacryocystitis based on its presentation. Dye tests, in which the doctor places a special dye in the eye and watches to see whether the dye discolors nasal discharge, help identify the extent of blockage causing the inflammation.

Treatment includes antibiotic medications when there is an infection, or procedures to dilate the lacrimal duct when there is no infection. Sometimes surgery is necessary to correct dacryostenosis or other structural defects. Appropriate treatment resolves the dacryocystitis.


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