Linear compartmental analysis was applied to lacrimal scintigraphy data from asymptomatic and obstructed lacrimal systems. Failure to achieve satisfactory results in most of the asymptomatic systems studied suggests that variable tear flow is a feature of normal lacrimal drainage which precludes linear analysis. However, in cases where the analysis was successful the results were consistent with the occurrence of reflux between the conjunctival and lacrimal sacs, and between the lacrimal sac and nasolacrimal duct. Further support for the existence of reflux between compartments was provided by the analysis of obstructed systems, particularly those with obstruction at the upper end of the nasolacrimal duct. In such cases there was rapid equilibrium of the tracer between the conjunctival and lacrimal sacs, which in the absence of tear flow could be explained by reflux between these 2 compartments.
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