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Dacryops: Benign cyst in lacrimal gland (lacrimal gland cyst)

Dacryops is a rare but benign condition in which the patient has a fluid-filled cyst in the lacrimal gland. Although this cyst may also develop in places where lacrimal gland tissue is present, this usually painless or mildly painful swelling usually occurs under the lateral side of the upper eyelid. Various imaging tests are needed to confirm the eye condition and to rule out other conditions including cancer in the eye. The ophthalmologist removes the cyst through surgery. This is necessary because the lacrimal gland cyst quickly returns with other treatments.

  • Synonyms dacryops
  • Causes of lacrimal gland cyst
  • Mild symptoms with swollen upper eyelid
  • Diagnosis and examinations
  • Treatment: Operation
  • Complications benign cyst


Synonyms dacryops

Dacryops is also known by these synonyms:

  • lacrimal duct cyst
  • lacrimal gland cyst


Causes of lacrimal gland cyst

The biggest cause of dacryops is trachoma . This serious inflammation of the eye (conjunctivitis) leads to blindness after repeated infections. With chronic eye inflammation, the patient has recurring infections for years with scarring on the inside of the eyelid. It is the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide. Trachoma occurs in developing countries where people live in overcrowded conditions with limited access to water and health care. The organism Chlamydia trachomatis causes the eye infection. Dacryops has also been reported in the context of eye scarring from trauma due to chemical injury . In other cases , the exact cause of a tear duct cystis unknown .

Mild symptoms with swollen upper eyelid

Patients complain of a visible mass or swelling of the upper eyelid, which appears as a rubbery and movable lump. This cyst usually grows slowly, but its size varies greatly. Sometimes the lump is larger during tearing. The patient is still able to cry. Pain, irritation and a tender eye may occur, but these symptoms are usually mild. Some patients also suffer from diplopia (medical term for double vision). If the cyst is large, proptosis (a bulging eye) or a displaced eyeball may occur. Typically, the patient has few vision problems.

Diagnosis and examinations

Ophthalmological examination

The ophthalmologist identifies the cyst during a comprehensive eye examination. He also measures the patient’s visual acuity.

Diagnostic research

To diagnose a lacrimal gland cyst, the ophthalmologist also uses an eye ultrasound, an MRI scan and a CT scan of the eyes and eye socket.

Differential diagnosis

The following eye conditions are very similar to lacrimal gland cysts:

  • cysts of the eyelid structures
  • dacryoadenitis: Inflammation of a tear gland
  • an adenoid cystic carcinoma (cancer of the skin, mucous membranes and organs)
  • a dermoid cyst (benign tumor)
  • an epidermoid cyst
  • an implantation cyst
  • a lymphoma / a pseudolymphoma (benign skin lesion)
  • a mucoepidermoid carcinoma
  • a squamous cell carcinoma (form of skin cancer)
  • a pleomorphic adenocarcinoma / adenoma (usually benign glandular tissue tumor)
  • lymphoproliferative disorders
  • lateral rectus muscle cyst
  • parasitic cysts (abnormally shaped cavities in the body) (such as cysticercosis: pigworm infection in various tissues including the eyes)
  • vascular malformations
  • laterally located frontal muoceles


Treatment: Operation

A hydrops is benign. The ophthalmologist removes the cyst via a surgical procedure. Aspirating or draining the cyst is not suitable as a definitive treatment, because it causes the hydrops to return quickly.

Complications benign cyst

Sometimes the lacrimal gland cyst returns due to incomplete surgical removal.

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  • An eye exam at the ophthalmologist: Screening for eye diseases
  • Trachoma: Severe inflammation of the eye (conjunctivitis)
  • Eye infections due to bacteria, fungi and viruses
  • Eyeball injury: Blunt or deep object in the eye
  • Diplopia: Double vision in one eye or both eyes