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Acute dacryoadenitis is a rare inflammatory condition of the lacrimal gland most often seen in children as a complication of viral infections such as mumps and herpes simplex, and in adults, in association with gonorrhea.

Presentation is as a painful swelling in the outer region of the upper lid with some degree of ptosis. Lifting the lid reveals the swollen palpebral portion of the gland bulging under the conjunctiva.

Chronic dacryoadenitis may occur in association with lymphoma, leukaemia or tuberculosis. Sometimes, it occurs bilaterally in sarcoidosis. Also bilateral dacryoadenitis has been reported in association with Epstein-Barr virus. It is referred to as Mikulicz's syndrome when combined with parotid gland swelling.

Treatment is with systemic antibiotics if there is bacterial infection. Surgical drainage is rarely necessary.


Last reviewed 01/2018