TEAR DUCT, INFECTION OR BLOCKAGE OF (Dacryocystitis or Dacryostenosis)
TEAR DUCT, INFECTION OR BLOCKAGE OF
(Dacryocystitis or Dacryostenosis)
A blockage or infection of the tear duct, sac, or gland is called dacryocystitis. The germs that cause the infection can be spread to other people. Scarring or blockage of the tear duct--usually from an inherited abnormality or prior infection -- is called dacryostenosis. The eye and the tear (nasolacrimal) gland, sac, or duct are involved. Blockage or infection of the tear duct or sac occurs in all ages, but it is most common in children. Inherited blockage of the tear duct usually appears in infants at 3 to 12 weeks. Blockage caused by infection can occur at any age following an infection.
Appropriate health care includes:
Home care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
Surgery to dilate and probe the tear-duct canal. In infants, this usually requires a brief general anesthesia in an out-patient surgical facility. In adolescents and adults, it is often done in the doctor's office with local anesthesia. After dilation, the tear-duct system is irrigated with a saline solution. Complete obstruction may require a surgical opening from your child's eye into the nasal passage.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSPersistent tearing of one or both of your child's eyes.
Drainage of mucus and pus instead of water from the tear duct. The drainage may flow spontaneously or with pressure on the area.
Pain below the child's eye.
Redness and swelling of the tear duct.
Redness of the white of the eye surrounding the tear duct.
The following symptoms may apply to either blockage or infection:
Bacterial infection of the duct.
Sinus or nasal infection, especially chronic nasal infection.
Eye infection, including severe pinkeye (conjunctivitis).
Fracture of the nose or facial bones.
Obstruction of your child's tear duct resulting from the following:
RISK FACTORSBeing a newborn or an infant, especially with a family history of blocked tear ducts.
Recent infection, such as those listed above.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEObtain prompt medical treatment for your child's eye, nose, or sinus infections.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Without treatment, an obstruction may cause chronic infection.
Without treatment, infection may spread to the child's cornea and other parts of the eye or permanently scar the tear duct.
PROBABLE OUTCOMEInfection is usually curable with antibiotics.
Obstruction is usually curable with dilation of the duct or surgery. Allow 3 weeks for your child's recovery.
For obstruction (if surgery is not necessary): Massage the child's tear duct twice a day with fingertips to milk the contents.
For infection: Relieve your child's pain by applying warm soaks.
MEDICATIONYour doctor may prescribe oral or topical antibiotics for your child's infection.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your child should reduce activity during treatment for the infection. Avoiding swimming and contact sports is necessary.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When signs of infection have decreased, appetite returns, and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of a tear-duct infection or blockage.
Your child has a temperature of 101F (38.3C) or more.
Your child's symptoms don't improve, despite treatment.
Your child's vision is affected.