The lacrimal system contains the structures required for tear production and drainage. Any disruption to either the production of tears or the drainage of tears will result in lacrimal disorders, which lead to acute or chronic discomfort of the eye.
The most common of these is ‘dry eye’. This is when the protective tear film on the surface of the eye diminishes, leaving the delicate tissues of the eye exposed to the drying effects of the outside world. The eye can still make tears, in fact many patients complain of wet eyes and tearing with this condition. See more information on dry eye syndrome here.
‘Wet eye’ occurs when there is a blockage in the lacrimal drainage system which prevents tears from draining effectively. This can cause a built-up of tears on the lower eyelid. The main symptom is constant tearing from one or both eyes with tears running down the face. Because access into the nose is blocked, mucous builds up in the lacrimal sac making the eye prone to infection. This condition is usually treated with antibiotics if there is infection but for permanent resolution, surgery is required to clear the obstructed duct.
The conjunctiva is the clear membrane that encircles and protects the eyeball. The conjunctiva has many small blood vessels (conjunctiva) running through it. These vessels provide lubrication to the eye for protection and to allow it to move in its socket.
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of this membrane. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, allergies, and more.
In bacterial conjunctivitis, the eyelid usually swells and the eye produces a yellowish discharge, the eye often feels uncomfortable as if there is something in the eye, or the eye has a scratchy or itchy sensation. The bacteria’s most commonly associated with conjunctivitis is staphylococcus, the streptococcus, and Haemophilus Influenza. They are very contagious.
Usually antibiotic drops will clear up the infection within just a few days. In rare cases, when a patient doesn’t respond to drops, another consultation with an ophthalmologist may be needed to take other measures. If left untreated, conjunctivitis can create serious complications, such as infections in the cornea, lids, and tear ducts.
See more information on chalazion here.