What are Lacrimal Disorders and How are They Treated?

What are Lacrimal Disorders and How are They Treated?

The young man has red eye inflammationWhen you hear a term like lacrimal disease, you may think of one singular problem and collection of symptoms. Instead, lacrimal disease refers to a disruption to the lacrimal system of the eye, the area responsible for tear production and draining. Here, we discuss what conditions may be referred to as a type of lacrimal disease and how each may be treated.

Dry Eye

Dry eye syndrome is a prevalent condition that ophthalmologists see frequently. It involves a disruption to the tear film that protects the surface of the eye. Interestingly, one of the most common symptoms of dry eye is excessive tearing. We can identify dry eye as the culprit due to the presence of other symptoms, which can include blurry vision or a gritty or burning sensation. Lifestyle habits and environmental factors can play a role in the development and severity of dry eye syndrome. This condition is often aggravated by digital eye strain. It may also be worse in areas that are dry, windy, or very hot or cold.

Treatment for dry eye revolves around first understanding where the disruption in the tear film has occurred. Is the eye not producing sufficient tears, or is the tear film evaporating too quickly? These are questions that an ophthalmic exam can answer. The symptoms of dry eye syndrome may be temporarily improved with artificial tears. However, this remedy only works for a short time, and there is a limit to how frequently they can be applied. Seeing an ophthalmologist, you can discover the most efficient way to manage this lacrimal condition.

Wet Eyes

We don’t often talk about this condition as “wet eyes.” It is more like excessive tearing. The lacrimal drainage system enables tears to drain into the nasal passageways. A blockage to the natural drains from the eye results in a buildup of the tear film. Too much tear film can cause the eyes to water to a point where you’re wiping them frequently. The blockage also presents a risk of infection in the lacrimal sac. Initially, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics to address infection, if necessary. A minor surgical procedure may then be recommended to unblock the obstructed duct.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is a relatively common infection that most people know as pink eye. The conjunctiva is a clear lining over the eyeball through which many blood vessels travel. This membrane is involved in protecting and maintaining the lubrication of the eye so that it moves freely. Conjunctivitis is inflammation in the membrane that results from bacteria, allergies, chemicals, or a virus. Symptoms of bacterial conjunctivitis include a scratchy feeling, yellowish discharge, itching, and crusting at the eyelashes. It is extremely contagious so should be treated promptly with antibiotic drops. The infected eye should not be covered beyond a brief compress to relieve symptoms and loosen debris at the eyelid margin.

Lacrimal conditions can be frustrating. However, they are treatable. If you’re experiencing symptoms of lacrimal disease, contact us. We can help you feel more comfortable! Call 314-567-3567 to reach our St. Louis office, or 636-706-5500 to schedule a visit in St. Peters.

Posted in: Lacrimal Disease

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