Lacrimal system consisting of: of lacrimal gland (a), punctums (b,e), canalicules (c,f), lacrimal sac (g,d).
Lateral view of lacrimal anatamy.
  • Ascension of agent from conjunctiva into lacrimal glands
  • Anatomy
    • Two lobes: orbital and palpebral lobes
    • Palpebral lobe visualized by everting eyes
  • Uncommon, with 1/10,000 ophthalmic patients having dacryoadenitis


Clinical Features

Bilateral dacryoadenitis: erythema and edema are greatest over the lateral one-third of the upper eyelids
Chemosis and injection of the sclera
  • Unilateral pain, redness, swelling, pressure in orbital supratemporal area
  • Rapid onset, hours to days
  • Chronic form > 1 mo
    • May be bilateral
    • May be painless
    • More common than acute form
  • Physical exam
    • Chemosis, conjunctival injection, mucopurulent discharge
    • Propotosis
    • Swelling of lateral third of upper lid (S-shaped lid)
    • Systemic signs
      • Fever, URI, malaise
      • Parotid gland enlargement

Differential Diagnosis

  • Lacrimal gland tumor

Periorbital swelling


No proptosis

Lid Complications


Neonatal eye problems


Bilateral dacryoadenitis
  • CT orbits with contrast if concern for orbital cellulitis
  • Bacterial culture, fungal if suspect


  • Warm compresses
  • NSAIDs
  • Based on etiology
    • Bacterial - cephalexin 500mg q6 until culture results
      • Add TMP-SMX (TMP 160mg q12hr) if concern for MRSA
    • Protozoal or fungal - treat underlying infection
    • Systemic, inflammatory/noninfectious - investigate underlying etiology


  • Outpatient ophtho referral