Dacryoadenitis is inflammation of the tear-producing gland (lacrimal gland).
Acute dacryoadenitis is most commonly due to viral or bacterial infection. Common causes include mumps , Epstein-Barr virus , staphylococcus, and gonococcus.
Mumps is a contagious disease that leads to painful swelling of the salivary glands. The salivary glands produce saliva, a liquid that moistens food...
Mononucleosis, or mono, is a viral infection that causes fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph glands, most often in the neck.
Chronic dacryoadenitis is most often due to noninfectious inflammatory disorders. Examples include sarcoidosis , thyroid eye disease, and orbital pseudotumor .
Sarcoidosis is a disease in which inflammation occurs in the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, eyes, skin, or other tissues.
Orbital pseudotumor is the swelling of tissue behind the eye in an area called the orbit. The orbit is the hollow space in the skull where the eye s...
Symptoms may include:
- 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.
A computed tomography (CT) scan of the orbit is an imaging method. It uses x-rays to create detailed pictures of the eye sockets (orbits), eyes and ...
Tumor of the lacrimal gland
A lacrimal gland tumor is a tumor in 1 of the glands that produces tears. The lacrimal gland is located under the outer part of each eyebrow. Lacri...
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.
Most people will fully recover from dacryoadenitis. For more serious causes, such as sarcoidosis, the outlook depends on the disease that caused this condition.
Swelling may be severe enough to put pressure on the eye and distort vision. Some people 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.
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.
Durand ML. Periocular infections. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases . 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 118.
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:vol 2, chap 35.
Review Date: 8/20/2016
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.