What is Dacryostenosis?

Dacryostenosis is a medical condition which results from a blockage of the tear ducts. The tear ducts are the small channels that carry the tears produced in the eyes to the nose. When they become blocked, the tears are unable to flow normally and can accumulate in the eyes.

Dacryostenosis is more common in infants and young children than in adults. It is usually caused by a congenital (present at birth) narrowing of the tear ducts or an obstruction of the tear ducts by obstruction such as mucus or debris.

Signs and Symptoms of Dacryostenosis:

  • Excessive tearing (epiphora)
  • Constant discharge of a sticky mucus-like fluid from the eyes
  • Development of yellowish eye discharge (pus)
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Irritability
  • Crusting of the eyelids

Diagnosing Dacryostenosis:

Your doctor will need to perform a physical examination of your eyes to diagnose dacryostenosis. He/she may also need to take other tests such as a computed tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan in order to determine the severity and location of the blockage.

Treatment of Dacryostenosis:

Treatment for Dacryostenosis usually involves the insertion of a tiny catheter or a probe into the tear duct to clear the blockage. In certain cases, the doctor may also recommend the surgical removal of the obstruction.

In some cases, the tear ducts may be too small or blocked to allow for catheter or probe insertion and other surgical methods may be necessary to open or expand the tear ducts. This includes laser therapy, electron beam radiation, or Theta Probe therapy.

Complications of Dacryostenosis:

If left untreated, dacryostenosis can cause serious complications, such as:

  • Eye damage due to a build-up of bacteria in the tear ducts
  • Growth of cysts or tumors in and around the tear ducts
  • Infections or abscesses around the eyes