Back

Dacryocystitis

(Infected Tear Duct)

Definition

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.

Causes

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
si55551149 97870 tear duct
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

Dacryocystitis is most common in infants with blocked tear ducts. Other factors that may increase your chance of dacryocystitis include:

Symptoms

Dacryocystitis may cause:

Diagnosis

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.

Treatment

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:

Prevention

There are no current guidelines to prevent dacryocystitis.

RESOURCES

American Medical Association http://www.ama-assn.org

Nemours Kid's Health http://www.kidshealth.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Healthy Alberta http://www.healthyalberta.com

References

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 website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 15, 2011. Accessed November 4, 2015.

Revision Information