What is Dacryostenosis?
Dacryostenosis or nasolacrimal duct obstruction (NLDO), is inflammation of the nasolacrimal duct (tear sac). It is mainly due to poor tear drainage.1 Dacryostenosis can be congenital, idiopathic, or acquired.
Often referred to as a blocked tear duct, dacryostenosis causes excess tearing and yellow discharge in the eye.² It can be treated with a warm compress. In some cases, it may require surgery or other medical treatment to resolve underlying issues.2
- Dacryostenosis occurs because of poor drainage of the tear ducts.
- Dacryostenosis can be congenital (occurs in infants), idiopathic (no known cause) or acquired in adulthood.
- Treatment often involves a warm compress and manual expression of the ducts through light massage. In chronic cases, surgery may be required to expand the ducts.
Dacryostenosis is a condition of the nasolacrimal duct, which is part of the lacrimal gland system. Often, the cause is unknown (idiopathic).3
Adults can acquire dacryostenosis from other diseases, trauma, chemotherapy, or radiation. Some research suggests that a narrow lacrimal duct or infection in the conjunctiva can be the cause.3
When the condition occurs in infants, it is referred to as congenital dacryostenosis. It is caused by a lack of nasolacrimal duct development. The symptoms often develop in infants around two weeks of age and resolve after 6-9 months.4
Depending on the cause, your eye doctor will take a different approach to treat dacryostenosis.
If your infant has congenital dacryostenosis, then you can apply a warm compress and gently massage their lacrimal sac a few times per day to express the ducts.4 Your eye doctor will show you how to apply pressure over the lacrimal sac in the corner of the eye in a downward direction.3
In rare cases, a blocked duct may lead to an eye infection. Hence, your child’s eye doctor may give antibiotics. Additionally, if your child’s ducts remain clogged after their first birthday, your doctor may probe the duct to enlarge it so that normal tear flow is possible.4
For acquired dacryostenosis, your eye doctor will first try to treat the primary cause. This may be other diseases, injuries, or medications.2 If treatment is not possible or fails to relieve symptoms, your eye doctor may perform surgery. For instance, this may include dacryocystoplasty or dacryocystorhinostomy.3
Dacryocystoplasty is minimally invasive and uses a balloon to insert a stent to open the duct. However, dacryocystorhinostomy involves removing part of the lacrimal bone to create space between the lacrimal sac and the nasal cavity.3