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Dacryoadenitis

Definition

Dacryoadenitis is inflammation of the tear-producing gland (lacrimal gland).

Causes

Acute dacryoadenitis is most commonly due to viral or bacterial infection. Common causes include mumps, Epstein-Barr virus, staphylococcus, and gonococcus.

Chronic dacryoadenitis is usually due to noninfectious inflammatory disorders. Examples include sarcoidosis, thyroid eye disease, and orbital pseudotumor.

Symptoms

  • Swelling of the outer portion of the upper lid, with possible redness and tenderness
  • Pain in the area of swelling
  • Excess tearing or discharge
  • Swelling of lymph nodes in front of the ear

Exams and Tests

Dacryoadenitis can be diagnosed by an examination of the eyes and lids. Special tests, such as a CT scan may be required to search for the cause. Sometimes a biopsy will be needed to make sure that a tumor of the lacrimal gland is not present.

Treatment

If the cause of dacryoadenitis is a viral condition such as mumps, rest and warm compresses may be enough. In other cases, the treatment depends on the disease that caused dacryoadenitis.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Most patients will fully recover from dacryoadenitis. For more serious causes, such as sarcoidosis, the outlook depends on the disease that caused this condition.

Possible Complications

Swelling may be severe enough to put pressure on the eye and distort vision. Some patients who were first thought to have dacryoadenitis may turn out to have cancer of the lacrimal gland.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if swelling or pain increase despite treatment.

Prevention

Mumps can be prevented by getting vaccinated. You can avoid getting infected with gonococcus, the bacteria that cause gonorrhea, by using safe sex practices. Most other causes cannot be prevented.

References

Durand ML. Periocular infections. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 114.

Karesh JW, On AV, Hirschbein MJ. Noninfectious orbital inflammatory disease. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane's Ophthalmology. 2013 ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2013:chap 35.


Review Date: 9/2/2014
Reviewed By: Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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