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Dacryocystitis

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Updated June 17, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition: Dacryocystitis is an infection and inflammation of the nasolacrimal sac of the eye. The nasolacrimal sac is part of the tear duct system, responsible for carrying tears away from the eye's surface and into the nose. If a tear duct is blocked, tears will build up in the eyes and stream down the face. Dacryocystis is usually caused by an obstruction within the lacrimal system.

Dacryocystitis may cause pain, redness and swelling of the eye and eyelid tissue. Mucus discharge may also be present.

Dacryocystitis is common in infants due to immature openings of the passageways in the lacrimal system. In adults, dacryocystitis may arise from obstruction, trauma, chronic sinus problems or scarring.

Dacryocystitis is usually treated with antibiotics. Surgery is sometimes needed to relieve pressure and inflammation, or to remove the obstruction that caused the infection.

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