How to distinguish dacryocystitis from conjunctivitis?

How to distinguish dacryocystitis from conjunctivitis?

Redness of the eye, pain and swelling on the inside of the eye are often mistaken for conjunctivitis and are treated with appropriate eye drops. The condition does not improve, on the contrary, the edema swells even more. Then it becomes clear that it is not the mucous membrane of the eye that is affected, but the lacrimal sac, which stands out as an unsightly painful lump. This is dacryocystitis.

The disease occurs in only 1-1.5% of adults, so it is rarely identified immediately. More often, dacryocystitis occurs in infants when particles of embryonic tissue remain in the lumen of the nasolacrimal canal. The cause of dacryocystitis in adults is usually swelling and inflammation of the nasal mucosa, which disrupt the normal outflow of tears. As a result, tears and microbes stagnate, inflammation develops, and pus appears. The disease is dangerous precisely with purulent-septic complications: inflammation passes to the surrounding tissues, affects the blood vessels. In severe cases, dacryocystitis provokes meningitis. That is why it is important to diagnose the disease at an early stage and start treatment.

How to notice the disease in time? After all, the first symptoms are similar to inflammation of the conjunctiva. In addition, an infection that originated in the lacrimal sac sometimes causes conjunctivitis. Let’s see how to distinguish dacryocystitis from conjunctivitis?

  • With dacryocystitis, inflammation usually appears on one side. With conjunctivitis, most often it spreads to the second eye.
  • With blockage of the nasolacrimal canal, the swelling is sometimes so severe that the palpebral fissure narrows. The lacrimal sac increases in size and becomes visible. With inflammation of the conjunctiva, the swelling of the eyelids is insignificant.
  • Tearing is characteristic of both diseases, but with dacryocystitis, white pus is released along with a tear. Purulent discharge also accompanies bacterial conjunctivitis.
  • With dacryocystitis, pain is localized on the inside of the eye, closer to the nose, with conjunctivitis, pain is noted in the corner of the eye.
  • In most types of conjunctivitis, there is severe itching in the eyes, with dacryocystitis it is absent.
  • When inflammation of the lacrimal sac affects the blood vessels, body temperature rises, which does not happen with conjunctivitis.

Even if the symptoms clearly indicate inflammation of the lacrimal sac, only the ophthalmologist makes the final diagnosis. In addition to a visual examination, our doctors conduct special tests with neutral dyes, which are absolutely safe for health. A special dye is dropped into the affected eye and the speed at which it passes all the way through the lacrimal canal is observed. Normally, the dye should be in the nasal cavity, but with dacryocystitis, it does not pass beyond the lacrimal sac. If the paint does not appear in the nasal cavity, the nasolacrimal canal is blocked.

Never try to deal with acute dacryocystitis on your own. Treatment requires qualified medical care and is usually carried out in a hospital due to the high risk of purulent-septic complications.

Our clinic deals with the treatment of dacryocystitis in newborns. To restore the patency of the nasolacrimal canal, newborns require its probing of the lacrimal ducts. Ophthalmologists of our clinic carry out all the necessary manipulations for children, monitor the patient’s condition – do everything to prevent the risk of re-inflammation, and also carry out successful treatment of eye diseases.

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