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Lacrimal scan

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What is a Lacrimal scan?

A lacrimal scan is a diagnostic procedure to determine how well your nasolacrimal ducts (also known as tear ducts) are functioning and their anatomical appearance.

Your doctor may request this scan if you have dry eye syndrome or excessively watery eyes.

Can I have a lacrimal scan if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

If there is a possibility that you are pregnant or you are currently breastfeeding please inform the department before your appointment.

Can I bring someone with me?

Whenever possible, you should attend your appointment alone, unless you need a carer to support any additional needs.

How long will my appointment take?

Please allow one hour for your appointment.

What will happen at my appointment?

A drop of radioisotope tracer will be placed into the corner of each eye using an eye dropper. It will emit gamma rays which will be detected by a piece of equipment called a gamma camera. Immediately after the drops have been placed the first set of imaging begins which takes 20 minutes.

The radioactive eye drops shouldn’t make your eyes hurt or affect your vision. It will feel no different from normal saline drops.

After the first set of images you will be asked to blow your nose and further images will be taken for 5 minutes.

These scans are undertaken with you seated in a chair with your forehead resting against the gamma camera. It is important that you remain still for this time.

Sometimes it is necessary to take further images after 30 minutes, so please allow time when coming for your appointment.

All images will be checked before you leave the department.

Do I need to undress for the scan?

You do not need to undress for your scan but we will ask you to remove any contact lenses / eyeglasses.

We recommend not wearing any make up the day of your scan or removing your make up before the scan.

What happens after my appointment?

After the appointment you can resume all usual activities.Eat as normal and keep well hydrated.

When will I get my results?

The report will be sent to your referring doctor. They will contact you to discuss the results. If you have any enquiries regarding your results please contact the department where the referral was originally made.

Are there any risks with this procedure?

The radioactive tracer administered will expose you to a small amount of ionising radiation, consistent with the desired diagnostic outcome.

The risks are very low and the benefits of having the results from the Lacrimal scan greatly outweigh the risk.

Contact details.

Royal Sussex County Hospital (RSCH)                                                                                                         Nuclear Medicine Department                                                                                                                    Hanbury Building                                                                                                                                               Royal Sussex County Hospital                                                                                                                                                                    Eastern Road, Brighton BN2 5BE                                                                                                                      Telephone: 01273 696955, extension 64381 or 64382.

This leaflet is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.

The information in this leaflet is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.

Publication Date: January 2022

Review Date: October 2024

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