Lacrimal Sac Infections
Usually, infection of the lacrimal sac (dacryocystitis) results from a blockage of the nasolacrimal duct. The infection makes the area around the sac painful, red and swollen. The eye becomes red and watery and oozes pus. Slight pressure applied to the sac may push pus through the opening at the inner corner of the eye near the nose. The person also has a fever.
If a mild or recurring infection continues for a long time, most of the symptoms may disappear with only slight swelling of the area remaining. Sometimes, an infection causes fluid to be retained in the lacrimal sac, and a large fluid-filled sac (mucocele) forms under the skin.
Recurring infections may produce a thickened, red area over the sac. An abscess may form and rupture through the skin creating a passage for drainage. The infection is treated with oral or intravenous antibiotics. Applying frequent warm compresses to the area also helps.
If an abscess develops, surgery is performed to open and drain it. For chronic infections, the blocked nasolacrimal duct may be opened with a probe or by surgery. In rare instances, surgical removal of the entire lacrimal sac may be necessary.
Extracts in this section compiled from The Merck Manual of Medical Information.