Dacryocystitis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments
Do you have inflammation in the inner corner of your eye near your nose? It could be dacryocystitis, the inflammation of your tear sac. This infection causes the tissues between the eye and the nostril to swell. As it swells, it becomes red and hot. When not treated in a timely fashion, dacryocystitis sometimes leads to the formation of an abscess.
What are the causes and symptoms of dacryocystitis? And what are the different treatments? Here are the answers to all your questions.
Dacryocystitis | Definition
Dacryocystitis is an infection of the lacrimal sac located between the eye and the nose, whose function is to evacuate tears. It connects the eye to the nasolacrimal duct, which extends along the nose and enables the flow of tears towards the nasal cavity.
This eye infection is one of the most common. Its somewhat complex name comes from two Greek words:
- "Dakryos," which means tears.
- "Kurtis," which spawned the term "cystitis," which means bag or bladder.
What are the causes of dacryocystitis?
The most common cause of dacryocystitis is obstruction of the membranous nasolacrimal duct. This duct helps the over-production of tear fluid to flow to the nose. When a person cries, the tears are often accompanied by a runny nose.
This duct can become blocked due to infection or chronic irritation, which causes tear fluid to stop flowing.
This pathology is common in people over the age of 60 due to the ageing of the tear ducts. Dacryocystitis in babies is also possible but much less common. It occurs at birth and during the first months of life.
What are the initial symptoms of dacryocystitis?
Dacryocystitis has many symptoms, including swelling, pain, redness in the eyes, etc. It's sometimes difficult to determine the causes of an ocular pathology yourself. The surest way to quickly identify an eye problem is to make an appointment with an optometrist.
Here is a list of common symptoms related to dacryocystitis:
- Redness: the area between the inner corner of the eye (the inner canthus) and the nose is red. The redness increases as the inflammation increases.
- Tears: obstruction of the tear duct prevents excess tears from evacuating normally and will create an accumulation of tears in the eye. That is what causes tears to run down the cheeks unexpectedly.
- Edema: water retention creates tissue swelling. Excess fluid in the skin forms a lump or swelling in the tear sac.
Other symptoms may appear in the case of acute dacryocystitis or chronic dacryocystitis.
Acute dacryocystitis is particularly painful due to the formation of edema and sometimes even an abscess. It also causes the eye to ooze mucus and pus when pressure is applied to the tear sac.
Chronic dacryocystitis also produces mucus secretion at the inner corner of the eye. Affected individuals are generally prone to chronic conjunctivitis.
In the case of a dacryocystitis complication, the skin may puncture, or a lesion may appear at the level of the lacrimal ducts.
Can this type of infection be prevented?
The best way to prevent dacryocystitis is to have a healthy lifestyle. This pathology can appear suddenly, and there are no particular preventive means.
If your eyes appear reddish, it's recommended to:
- Not wear contact lenses if you have red eyes or redness around your eye
- Rest your eyes by limiting screen time, especially in the evening before going to bed
- Get several nights of sleep for 7 to 8 hours so that your eyes can heal
- Keep yourself adequately hydrated by drinking water and applying eye drops if necessary
- Consult an optometrist or ophthalmologist if in doubt about the origin of the redness.
What are the treatments for dacryocystitis?
The treatment for dacryocystitis varies depending on the severity of the infection. Early dacryocystitis can be treated by applying warm compresses. On the other hand, treating acute dacryocystitis often requires taking antibiotics and sometimes surgery.
Managing Mild Dacryocystitis
Applying warm compresses will help the tear duct dilate, improving evacuation within the duct. For this, use sterilized equipment, like sterile compresses and sterilized water. Don't use tap water directly in your eyes. To make it sterile, it is necessary to boil it for 10 minutes. When applying the compresses, check the temperature carefully. It shouldn't be too hot for your eyes.
Antibiotic Treatment for Dacryocystitis
After a consultation with an eye doctor, antibiotics may be prescribed. Antibiotic eye drops are applied directly into the eye. Oral antibiotic treatment may also be prescribed. The goal is to fight infection and thus quickly reduce inflammation.
Operation for Dacryocystitis: Dacryocystorhinostomy
When necessary, a surgical operation called dacryocystorhinostomy can bypass the obstruction of the nasolacrimal duct. This intervention creates a new passage between the lacrimal sac and the nasal cavity so that the tears can evacuate again towards the nose.
Do you have any doubts about the cause of your eye redness? Do you feel any discomfort or pain? Regardless of the type of symptoms, we always advise you to consult an optometrist as soon as possible. Having healthy eyes is one of your most precious things.