The dacriocistitis is inflammation of the lacrimal sac. It occurs when the duct that connects the lacrimal sac with the nose becomes blocked.
There are three types of dacryocystitis:
- congenital (at birth).
It is not a very serious pathology except in the case that it is acute that can be a cause of hospital emergency due to the appearance of infections.
Causes of dacryocystitis
The eye is the organ in charge of vision. In it there are different protection mechanisms against external agents (smoke, dust …) that prevent injuries that affect its correct operation.
One of these protection mechanisms are tears (others would be the eyelashes or eyelids).
Tears form in the lacrimal sac. Its function is to prevent the cornea from drying out when the eye is open and to eliminate particles that can damage it. The lacrimal sac communicates with the nose and, through it, with the outside to eliminate tears.
In the person suffering from dacryocystitis, the communication of the lacrimal sac with the nose is partially or totally obstructed. For this reason, the content of the lacrimal sac can only go outwards (epiphora) or accumulate in the lacrimal sac (bulging of the same).
In these conditions, infections by certain germs can occur, which on some occasions can lead to serious local lesions (acute dacryocystitis).
The causes of the three types of dacryocystitis are as follows:
- The congenital is present from birth. It is due to the persistence of a layer of skin that closes the duct that connects the lacrimal sac with the nose.
- Chronic is due to the narrowing or closure of the nasal-lacrimal duct, for example due to chronic inflammation of the nasal mucosa, which over time produces an alteration of the mucosa of the lacrimal sac, and can generate the appearance of infections.
- Finally, acute is caused by lesions in the epithelium of the lacrimal sac, usually due to chronic inflammation of the sac or a mechanical injury produced when performing a probing technique (a technique that is sometimes performed for the treatment of chronic dacryocystitis or congenital).
What symptoms appear?
All types of dacryocystitis lead to the following symptoms:
- Accumulation of purulent secretions in the lacrimal sac, which causes it to increase in size, and emptying of the same when pressed, revealing a purulent liquid instead of the usual tear.
- Redness and swelling of the lacrimal sac area, which can spread to both eyelids and severe pain on palpation.
In the acute form, in addition to the above, regional lymphadenopathy and low-grade fever may appear.
Diagnosis of dacryocystitis
The diagnosis is clinical, that is, it is based on the observation of the signs and symptoms described in the previous section.
If the involvement of other nearby areas is suspected, which could lead to the appearance of more serious pathology, an X-ray, or even a CT scan, can be performed.
Treatment of dacryocystitis
In the case of congenital dacryocystitis, it is advisable to wait a few weeks for the tear-nasal duct to open spontaneously. Antibiotic eye drops can be applied to prevent possible infections.
In the event that spontaneous opening does not occur, the content of the lacrimal sac is emptied by pressure and it may be necessary to probe it, always previously washing with a solution of vasoconstrictor medications (to reduce the possibility of bleeding and inflammation of the area).
Chronic dacryocystitis requires intranasal treatment if necessary. Washes will be done with vasoconstrictors alternating with bactericidal solutions. In the most severe cases, a careful catheterization can be done. If the above treatment fails, a dacryocystorhinostomy will be performed.
Finally, in acute dacryocystitis, broad-spectrum antibiotics will be used, depending on the severity, and oral anti-inflammatories. In some cases, surgical techniques will have to be used on the lacrimal sac. When the inflammation disappears, in some cases a dacryocystorhinostomy will be performed.
How can I avoid it?
Depending on the type of dacryocystitis, its appearance can be influenced more or less:
- Congenital dacryocystitis cannot be prevented or avoided.
- In chronic dacryocystitis, early diagnosis and the establishment of correct treatment can prevent the onset of acute.
The only possible thing is the general hygienic measures on eyes and nose.
People with chronic pathologies of the nose ( sinusitis , rhinitis ) have a higher risk of suffering from this type of pathology, so it is especially important to follow the advice of your doctor in this regard.
You should see your GP when both tear and purulent epiphora appear. Most likely it is a trivial infection and not a lacrimal sac problem.
The doctor will proceed to refer you to the ophthalmologist when, after an initial assessment of your condition, he considers it appropriate.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.