Eye Care

Dacryocystitis- Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Dacryocystitis is an eye infection which affects the lacrimal sac. It results from congenital artesia of the nasolacrimal duct in infants. In adults, it occurs when an obstruction (dacryostenosis) forms in the nasolacrimal duct. It generally affects women who are over 40. dacryocystitis can either be chronic or acute.

Signs And Symptoms Of Dacryocystitis

The main symptom of this infection is constant tearing. Acute dacryocystitis is extremely painful. Other symptoms of this condition include

  • tenderness
  • inflammation
  • failure to produce purulent discharge from the punctum

Causes Of Dacryocystitis

In infants, dacryocystitis occurs as a result of atresia of the nasolacrimal ducts due to either

  • from blockage when the membrane that separates the inferior nasal meatus and the lower part of the nasolacrimal duct fails to open spontaneously before tear secretion
  • from failure of canalization
  • Bony obstruction of the duct may also occur.

In adults, dacryocystitis can occur due to microbial infection of the lacrimal sac. There are two forms of dacryocystitis which are as following-

  • Chronic dacryocystitis:

    Streptococcus pneumoniae and in rare cases, Actinomyces or Candida albicans (types of fungi) are the causative agents.

  • Acute dacryocystitis:

    Staphylococcus aureus and beta-hemolytic streptococci are the microbial agents.

Primary and secondary tumors of the nose, sinus and orbits may also cause dacryocystitis.

Treatment For Dacryocystitis

Treatment of acute dacryocystitis consists of

  • warm compresses
  • systemic and topical antibiotic therapy
  • incision and discharge (if required)

Chronic dacryocystitis may eventually require dacryocystorhinostomy. In an infant, therapy for nasolacrimal duct obstruction requires careful massage of the area over the lacrimal sac. Massage the area four times a day for 6-9 months.

If this fails to open the lacrimal duct, it is necessary to dilate the punctum and probe the duct.

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