Dacryocystitis is an infection of the tear sac that lies between the inner corner of the eyelids and the nose. It usually results from blockage of the duct that carries tears from the tear sac to the nose. The blocked duct harbours bacteria and becomes infected. Dacryocystitis may be acute (sudden onset) or chronic (frequently recurs). It may be related to a malformation of the tear duct, injury, eye infection, or trauma.
This problem is most common in infants because their tear ducts are often underdeveloped and clog easily. Babies often have recurrent episodes of infection; however, in most cases, the problem resolves as the child grows. In adults, the infection may originate from an injury or inflammation of the nasal passages. In many cases, however, the cause is unknown.
Signs and Symptoms
- Generally affects one eye
- Excessive tearing
- Tenderness, redness, and swelling
- Red, inflamed bump on the inner corner of the lower lid
Detection and Diagnosis
During the examination, the eye care practitioner will determine the extent of the blockage. Cultures may be taken of the discharge to identify the type of infection. The eye care practitioner will also determine whether the infection has affected the eye.