(Infected Tear Duct)
How to Say It: Dak-re-o-sis-ti-tis
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Dacryocystitis is swelling and irritation of the lacrimal sac. This sac starts near the inner corner of the eye and runs along the side of the nose. Tears move through tear ducts into this sac. They are then passed out into the nasal passages.
This problem is caused by a blocked tear duct. Tears become trapped in the sac and form a pool. Bacteria can then begin to grow in the tear pool and create an infection. Both the trapped tears and infection will cause swelling and irritation.
This problem is most common in infants with blocked tear ducts. Other things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
Problems may be:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. An eye exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
Fluid samples may be taken from the eye or sac. The fluid will be checked for bacteria. This will help determine which antibiotic may work best.
For a tear duct blockage without signs of infection, the doctor may advise:
Antibiotics may be needed to treat an infection caused by bacteria.
The cause of the tear duct blockage may need to be treated. This may be done with:
There are no current guidelines to prevent this health problem.
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Kid's Health—Nemours Foundation
Canadian Association of Optometrists
Dacryocystitis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/eye-disorders/eyelid-and-lacrimal-disorders/dacryocystitis. Accessed August 2, 2021.
Dacryocystitis (acute). The College of Optometrists website. Available at: https://www.college-optometrists.org/guidance/clinical-management-guidelines/dacryocystitis-acute-.html. Accessed August 3, 2021.
Nasolacrimal duct obstruction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/nasolacrimal-duct-obstruction-15. Accessed August 3, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 8/3/2021
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.