Dacryocystitis is an infection of the tear (lacrimal) sac that develops when the tear (nasolacrimal) duct becomes obstructed. Tears drain into a small chamber called the tear sac. Obstruction of the nasolacrimal duct, which goes from the tear sac into the nose, is the most common cause of dacryocystitis.
The infection of dacryocystitis is usually mild. The illness can be severe at times and cause a fever. An abscess (a collection of pus) can grow, which can break through the skin and create a drainage path.
The area around the tear sac is painful, red, and swollen in acute dacryocystitis. It’s possible that the region around your eye will turn red and runny, and pus could flow out. The tear sac can drive thick material through the punctum when little pressure is applied to it (the opening at the inner corner of the eyelid near the nose).
The skin around the tiny chamber into which tears drain (tear sac) bulges as a result of chronic dacryocystitis. Although the bulge may not be unpleasant when pressed, a puslike or cheeselike material frequently emerges from the orifice at the inner corner of the eyelid near the nose (punctum or tear duct). Chronic dacryocystitis is frequently accompanied by chronic conjunctivitis (pink eye).
Symptoms and a physical examination by a doctor. The symptoms and examination findings are used to make a diagnosis of dacryocystitis.
Acute dacryocystitis is often treated with an antibiotic that is taken orally. Antibiotics delivered via vein may be required if a fever is present or if the infection is severe. Warm compresses applied to the area many times a day can also assist. Doctors recommend that people have surgery to circumvent the obstruction (dacryocystorhinostomy [DCR]) once the acute infection has cleared up so that the infection does not reoccur. Chronic dacryocystitis is treated with DCR as well.