Lacrimal Disease (Tearing disorders)
What is Lacrimal Disease?
Your natural tears are important for the health of your eyes. They wash away dust, and they keep your eyes lubricated. People with tearing problems either experience excessive tearing or dryness, which can be accompanied by burning, irritation, and blurred vision.
Lacrimal Disease affects the tear ducts and can produce symptoms of dry eye or excessive tearing. For most people, the dry eye symptoms are a minor irritant treated medically with tear drops.
Problems with the tear drainage ducts commonly cause tearing. An obstruction in the tear duct, for example, needs to be removed surgically. A deformity of the eyelid may also cause tear drainage problems. If you suffer from a tearing problem including lacrimal disease, contact our St. Louis, MO practice for treatment.
What Causes Tearing Problems?
Certain diseases like rosacea and rheumatoid arthritis can contribute to dryness, and menopause also contributes to dryness of the eyes. Ironically, dryness is sometimes the cause of excessive tears because the irritation causes the tear glands to reflexively produce excess tears. Allergies may also be a culprit with tearing complaints.
Tearing problems are also often caused by an obstruction in the tear duct which can develop as a result of aging, tumors, an injury, medications, or certain diseases. A malpositioned eyelid or tear duct opening can cause tearing complaints as well.
What To Expect During Your Lacrimal Disease Consultation
When you arrive, you will need to provide a medical history, as we need to know about major illnesses and problems such as heart disease and hypertension. Prior surgery, especially facial surgery, is important. Medication history, including medications or supplements that thin the blood are vital to disclose. All over-the-counter pain/fever reducers (except Tylenol) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are off limits for a week before eyelid surgery. Herbal medications such as ginkgo biloba and St. John’s Wort or high doses of fish oil, flax seed oil, or vitamin E must also be avoided.
Our team will ask you about the history of your tearing complaint and will examine you to determine if surgery is the right option for you. There may be other treatments that could correct your problem without surgery.
Surgery for Treating Lacrimal Disease
If you have a tear duct obstruction, it is opened during surgery and/or a new passage is created for your tears to drain properly. This kind of surgery is called DCR, which stands for dacryocystorhinostomy. If an eyelid deformity is the cause, this is corrected during your surgery, usually through tightening your eyelids. What happens in the surgery depends a great deal on what is preventing the tear ducts from functioning properly.
Recovery After Lacrimal Disease Procedure
Lacrimal disease surgery can usually be done on an outpatient basis, so you can go home the same day. Since you will be given a sedative to fall asleep during your surgery, you will need someone to drive you home, however.
You may experience some soreness, bruising, and swelling after your surgery, and ice packs and pain medication will help you during the first few days or week. You will also be given antibiotic eye drops or ointment to put in your eyes for a week or two, and you may be given a prescription for antibiotic capsules as well.
The recovery time is not usually extensive, but it varies from patient to patient. The team at Ophthalmic Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery, Inc. will talk to you about what you can expect in your particular case after your surgery.