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THE INVISIBLE THREAT IN THE EYE: LACRIMAL DUCT OCCLUSION


27/01/2015

Manifesting itself with symptoms such as watering or inflammation in the eyes or swelling or abscess in the lacrimal sac area, lacrimal duct occlusion is an important disorder that threatens eye health. Manifesting itself with symptoms such as watering or inflammation in the eyes or swelling or abscess in the lacrimal sac area, lacrimal duct occlusion is an important disorder that threatens eye health.

Manifesting itself with symptoms such as watering or inflammation in the eyes or swelling or abscess in the lacrimal sac area, lacrimal duct occlusion is an important disorder that threatens eye health.

Manifesting itself with symptoms such as watering or inflammation in the eyes or swelling or abscess in the lacrimal sac area, lacrimal duct occlusion is an important disorder that threatens eye health. Akın Banaz, MD, of Dünyagöz Ataköy notes that duct occlusion mostly shows itself with mild but persistent infections, and adds, “We can treat this condition through a surgical technique called dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR), which has a success rate of 95%.”

Tears contain enzymes and play an important role in oxygen transfer so that the eyes can function normally. Tears are a salty fluid and carry foreign substances like dust, bacteria etc. to the cheeks or to the nose through the lacrimal ducts. Tears are responsible for creating resistance against infections, and the eyes can remain defenseless against external factors if tears cannot leave the eye region in time through the lacrimal duct due to an infection.     

Most common in infants and middle-aged women

Stressing that lacrimal duct occlusion, which causes watering and infections in the eyes, most often occurs in the junction of the lacrimal duct and the nose, Dr. Akın Banaz of Dünyagöz Etiler says that the disease may develop in the upper parts of the lacrimal duct too, though rarely.Dr. Banaz points out that lacrimal duct occlusion is most common in one-year-old and younger infants, middle-aged and elderly women, individuals with a crooked nose and people who suffer from prolonged nasal infections and allergies, and that it affects women more than men.

Noting that lacrimal duct occlusion in adults is mostly of unknown origin, Dr. Banaz adds that the disease can also develop after a broken nose or intranasal disease.

There is a risk of persistent infection

Dr. Banaz stresses that "watery eyes", "swelling of the lacrimal sac area", "inflammation of the eyes", "abscess" etc. can be symptoms of lacrimal duct occlusion and adds the following about the risk of infection:

“When a duct is obstructed, the flow is disrupted and a suitable environment is formed for microbes to grow. This leads to minor but persistent infections. But sometimes infections can turn into abscess. And this may lead to severe pain with swelling.”   

Surgery is the principal treatment method

Noting that lacrimal duct occlusion is mostly localized in the junction of the nose and the lower end of the lacrimal duct, Dr. Banaz underlines that surgery is the principal treatment method for this condition. According to Dr. Banaz, eye surgeons mostly prefer the surgical technique called dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR), which has a success rate of 95%, and this is a very old technique:

“The occluded part of the duct is not opened in this treatment. Instead, the occluded part between the lacrimal duct and the nose is bypassed and a new duct is opened immediately above it. The new duct shouldn't be obstructed with the healing of the body; this is the most important point here. Because the body tries to close this newly opened duct created by surgery. The risk is there in the first 3-6 months following surgery. However, the risk for the new duct to be obstructed is eliminated after 6 months. The surgery should be performed in such a way that the duct cannot be obstructed again.”

The rate of success is low in other methods

According to Dr. Banaz, silicone intubation and probing methods are also used in adults but their rate of success is low and they can only be implemented in selected cases. 

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