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


Acute dacryoadenitis is most commonly due to viral or bacterial infection. Common causes include

, , staphylococcus, and gonococcus.

Chronic dacryoadenitis is usually due to noninfectious inflammatory disorders. Examples include

, thyroid eye disease, and .


  • 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

may be required to search for the cause. Sometimes a biopsy will be needed to make sure that a is not present.


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.


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: 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.

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 9/2/2014
  • 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.

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