Consultant Ophthalmologist,
Cataract & Refractive Surgeon

BMedSci BM BS MRCS MRCSEd MRCOpth FRCOphth MMedLaw PgD Cataract & Refractive Surgery

Mucocele and Dacrocystitis

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What’s going on?

Tears drain into the tear duct which begins at the inner aspects of the upper and lower lid. They then move into the tear sac which lies just behind the area where your spectacles sit on the side of your nose. From there they run into your nose. If there is a blockage of this drainage into the nose the tears fill this tear sac and cause it to distend resulting in a boggy swelling to the side of the nose (mucocele). Stagnant tears in the sac may become infected resulting in redness and pain (dacrocystitis).

What will my ophthalmologist see?

We can assess the swelling and decide whether it is infected or not.

What will my ophthalmologist do for me?

If there is frank infection, then antibiotic tablets may be required. If the infection is bad then we may have to intervene surgically. Occasionally we can empty the sac at the slit lamp.

You inevitably have a blocked tear duct and this may require addressing once the acute problem settles down.

What can I do?

If you have a simple mucocele you may elect simply to keep it empty by regular massage or pressure upon it. This will minimise the risk of an infection with the redness and pain. 

What do I need to know?

If you do not have your tear duct blockage addressed this problem may recur.