What causes dacryocystitis?

Updated: Oct 08, 2019
  • Author: Grant D Gilliland, MD; Chief Editor: Edsel Ing, MD, MPH, FRCSC  more...
  • Print
Answer

The lacrimal excretory system is prone to infection and inflammation for various reasons. This mucous membrane-lined tract is contiguous with the conjunctiva and nasal mucosa, which are normally colonized with bacteria. The functional purpose of the lacrimal excretory system is to drain tears from the eye into the nasal cavity. Stagnation of tears in a pathologically closed lacrimal drainage system can result in dacryocystitis.

Acquired dacryocystitis can be acute or chronic. [1] Acute dacryocystitis is heralded by the sudden onset of pain and redness in the medial canthal region. An insidious onset of epiphora is characteristic of chronic inflammation or infection of the lacrimal sac.

See the image below.

Acute dacryocystitis. Acute dacryocystitis.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!