An infected tear sac due to a blocked tear pathway causing redness and swelling.


Acute dacryocystitis is an infection of the tear sac. The reasons for the infection could be a blocked tear duct or nasolacrimal duct (most commonly) or more rarely from a lacrimal stone which is plugging the opening from the lacrimal sac into the tear duct. When the tear duct is blocked, tears and mucous will remain within the sac, forming a sludge that can easily become infected. A blocked tear duct can be the result of chronic inflammation, sinus disease, trauma and, rarely tumour.

The symptoms of acute dacryocystitis are:

  • An acute onset of a painful red lump between the eye and the nose
  • As the tears are full of bacteria, this can cause a conjunctivitis, and the eye is red, watering and uncomfortable
  • There may be a raised abscess arising from the sac that can be painful and then burst

The definitive treatment of acute and chronic dacryocystitis is surgery, dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR).