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Eye pain, taken artificial tears, wear CPAP mask, have type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea. Tear duct infection?

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Posted on Sun, 3 Jun 2012
Question: I am experiencing tenderness/pain in the inner (nasal) corner of my right eye. There is minor discomfort if I close my eyes tightly, and pain if I touch that part of my eye/face. As far as medical history, I am a 42 year old obese male, with type two diabetes and sleep apnea. At first, I was afraid that something has bruised my right cheekbone/orbital around my eye, perhaps caused by my CPAP mask. I doubt this now for several reasons: First, I did not have the pain when I first woke up, but noticed it in late afternoon, several hours before I sleep with the CPAP, second, my CPAP mask does not actually contact that area, and the surrounding cheek, nasal area is not sensitive, and finally, the pain is only in my right eye, the left is fine. I read somewhere online that tear duct infections have similar symptoms. I have some artificial tears at home, and when I irrigated my eye, I had some comfort, thought not complete recovery. My questions are: (1) How likely is it to be a tear duct infection (a percentage answer would be great!) (2) Because it is the weekend, is it safe to wait until Monday before seeing a doctor? (3) Shall I continue to irrigate my eye, and if so, how often? and finally, (4) Are there any other pro-active steps (other than seeing my doctor) I can take to either confirm that its a tear-duct thing, or treat my eye?
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Answered by Dr. N. K. Misra (14 hours later)
Dear XXXXXXX

Thanks for your query.The problem appears to be more likely to be the blockage of tear duct.This can be of various grades acute ,sub acute or chronic.Usually you are supposed to have some amount of excessive watering preceding this.Chances of you having a infection of this nature increase due to diabetes, even if blood sugar is controlled.

What you can do to now for proper diagnosis? The swelling at the angle of the eye may keep on increasing as the time passes. Any antibiotic drop when put in the eye passes into the throat within a few moments. If this happens then our diagnosis is wrong.

What can you do to help? You can give hot fomentation to the area. Heat up a hanky on an iron and dab on the area for 5-7 minutes. You can also put in antibiotic drops 4-5 times a day.

Once we have a confirmed diagnosis the treatment is oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain swelling and infection. Otherwise there is pus formation which bursts through the skin.

Back to your query one the chances of this being a tear duct infection is about 70 %

Irrigating the eye with water in such cases does not help. Instead you can opt for antibiotic drops with local GP.

A confirmation of diagnosis by proper consultation is needed.

I hope i have answered all your queries fully ,in case there is any other problem please do get back to me.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. N. K. Misra

Ophthalmologist

Practicing since :1977

Answered : 1281 Questions

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Eye pain, taken artificial tears, wear CPAP mask, have type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea. Tear duct infection?

Dear XXXXXXX

Thanks for your query.The problem appears to be more likely to be the blockage of tear duct.This can be of various grades acute ,sub acute or chronic.Usually you are supposed to have some amount of excessive watering preceding this.Chances of you having a infection of this nature increase due to diabetes, even if blood sugar is controlled.

What you can do to now for proper diagnosis? The swelling at the angle of the eye may keep on increasing as the time passes. Any antibiotic drop when put in the eye passes into the throat within a few moments. If this happens then our diagnosis is wrong.

What can you do to help? You can give hot fomentation to the area. Heat up a hanky on an iron and dab on the area for 5-7 minutes. You can also put in antibiotic drops 4-5 times a day.

Once we have a confirmed diagnosis the treatment is oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain swelling and infection. Otherwise there is pus formation which bursts through the skin.

Back to your query one the chances of this being a tear duct infection is about 70 %

Irrigating the eye with water in such cases does not help. Instead you can opt for antibiotic drops with local GP.

A confirmation of diagnosis by proper consultation is needed.

I hope i have answered all your queries fully ,in case there is any other problem please do get back to me.