Home About us Editorial board Ahead of print Current issue Search Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 
  • Users Online: 7996
  • Home
  • Print this page
  • Email this page

   Table of Contents      
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 151-153

Suppurative dacroadenitis causing ocular sicca syndrome in classic Wegener's granulomatosis

Department of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, KLES Dr. Prabhakar Kore Hospital and Medical Research Center; and Department of Medicine, JN Medical College, Belgaum, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission10-Jun-2009
Date of Acceptance13-Mar-2010
Date of Web Publication23-Feb-2011

Correspondence Address:
Dhanita Khanna
Department of Clinical Immunology & Rheumatology, KLES Prabhakar Kore Hospital and Medical Research Center, Belgaum
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0301-4738.77044

Rights and Permissions

Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) is a multisystem vasculitic disorder which can commonly afflict various components of the eye. Here we describe some unusual ocular manifestations of the disease in one patient. A young male with history of upper respiratory tract symptoms including epistaxis, nasal stuffiness and maxillary sinus pain presented with bilateral lacrimal gland abscess and ptosis. Lacrimal gland biopsy revealed granulomatous vasculitis. Lung cavities, positive cytoplasmic-antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies and high titers of serine proteinase-3 antibodies confirmed the diagnosis of WG. The patient developed dry eyes after a month of first presentation. There was no dryness of mouth, suggesting the absence of salivary gland involvement, and antinuclear antibodies as well as antibodies against Ro and La antigens classical of primary Sjogren's syndrome were absent. Granulomatous vasculitis of lacrimal gland leading to abscess formation and dryness of eyes has not been described in WG and reflects the aggressive nature of inflammatory process in this disease.

Keywords: Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody, Horner′s syndrome, lacrimal gland, ptosis, Sjogren′s syndrome

How to cite this article:
Khanna D, Shrivastava A. Suppurative dacroadenitis causing ocular sicca syndrome in classic Wegener's granulomatosis. Indian J Ophthalmol 2011;59:151-3

How to cite this URL:
Khanna D, Shrivastava A. Suppurative dacroadenitis causing ocular sicca syndrome in classic Wegener's granulomatosis. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2011 [cited 2020 Jul 4];59:151-3. Available from: http://www.ijo.in/text.asp?2011/59/2/151/77044

Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) is a systemic vasculitis of unknown etiology. Although it classically involves the upper respiratory tract, lungs and kidneys, virtually any organ system may be affected. Eye involvement is one of the commonest manifestations of WG. [1],[2] We describe here some unusual ocular manifestations of the disease in one patient.

  Case Report Top

A 27-year-old man complained of 2-month history of nasal stuffiness, epistaxis and maxillary sinus pain. One month later, he developed painful swellings over the outer part of both eyes. He was diagnosed elsewhere as presumed lid abscess and managed with antibiotics (amoxicillin-clavulanic acid) and drainage of purulent material from these swellings. He presented to us after another month with recurrence of eye swelling along with new development of dry cough. There was no history of redness of eyes, blurring of vision, diplopia, dry eyes, hemoptysis, dyspnea, fever, oliguria, hematuria, skin rash, tingling, burning or weakness in extremities, headache, seizures or altered sensorium. Examination revealed bilateral S-shaped swelling diagnosed as lacrimal gland swelling [[Figure 1]a] by our ophthalmologist. There was bilateral ptosis but no ophthalmoplegia or Horner's syndrome. There was no uveitis or retinal involvement. The patient was normotensive and systemic examination was unremarkable. Investigations revealed polymorphonuclear leukocytosis and thrombocytosis. Complement proteins C3, C4 and renal functions were normal. Urine examination revealed active sediments [white blood cells (WBC) 20-25/high power field (HPF), red blood cells (RBC) 6-8/HPF], but no albuminuria. Chest radiography and computerized tomography (CT) scan showed nodular and cavitating lesions [[Figure 2]a, b]. CT orbit did not reveal any retro-orbital mass. Culture of pus from past incisions over lacrimal gland did not reveal any organism. Incisional biopsy done from lateral aspect of left lacrimal gland swelling showed fibro-areolar tissue with necrotizing granulomatous vasculitis [Figure 3]. Positive cytoplasmic-antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (c-ANCA) and high serine proteinase-3 levels (366 U/ml; normal <16 U/ml) confirmed the diagnosis of WG. The patient was treated with initial regimen of daily oral cyclophosphamide (2 mg/kg) and oral prednisolone (1 mg/kg) which was gradually tapered after initial remission was obtained.
Figure 1: (a) Bilateral dacroadenitis along with nasal crusting; (b) the patient after 1 month of immunosuppressive therapy, showing left-sided ptosis but disappearance of lacrimal gland tumors

Click here to view
Figure 2: (a) Chest X-ray showing lung opacity and cavities (arrows); (b) CT scan of lungs showing cavities and nodules

Click here to view
Figure 3: Histopathology of right lacrimal gland tissue showing necrotizing vasculitis (arrowheads) and organizing granuloma (arrow)

Click here to view

A month later, there was complete regression of lacrimal gland swelling, but left-sided ptosis [[Figure 1]b] continued to persist. He also developed marked dryness of eyes and Schirmer's I test was positive (2 mm wetting in both the eyes after 5 minutes). There was no dry mouth, diplopia or ophthalmoplegia. Antinuclear, anti Ro and anti La antibodies were negative. There was complete regression of lung cavities with the above treatment after 3 months. After 1 year of follow-up, the patient was in complete remission with no recurrence of lacrimal gland swelling or lung lesions. However, ptosis of the left eye and ocular dryness continued to persist and the patient required frequent instillations of artificial tear drops.

  Discussion Top

Ocular involvement is one of the commonest features of WG and may be seen in 30-50% of patients. [1],[2] It may precede, [3],[4] or follow, [4] the other classic manifestations of WG. Rarely, patients may present only with ocular disease without systemic involvement. [5] Ocular manifestations of WG can occur as a result of contiguous granulomatous sinusitis (naso-lacrimal duct obstruction, proptosis, ocular muscle or optic nerve involvement) or isolated focal vasculitis (pseudo-tumor orbitae, conjunctivitis, episcleritis, scleritis, corneo-scleral ulceration, uveitis, and granulomatous vasculitis). [2] Isolated or predominant lacrimal gland involvement and ptosis in WG has been uncommonly reported, while suppurative dacroadenitis leading to ocular sicca syndrome has not been described.

Although lacrimal gland involvement leading to dry eyes is commonly seen in autoimmune connective tissue disorders, dacroadenitis is uncommon in most, except primary Sjogren's syndrome. In WG, it may be sole presentation of the disease with absence of systemic symptoms, [5] or may be an early or first manifestation of classic WG followed by other extra-ocular features, [6],[7],[8] as also in our patient, and should warrant a search for other features of WG. Although multifocal vasculitis leading to aggressive ocular syndrome is known, our patient had predominantly lacrimal gland disease which did not progress beyond the lacrimal glands. We feel the patient lacked other common ocular manifestations since he was diagnosed early in the disease course leading to therapeutic intervention.

Lacrimal gland abscess has only been reported once in literature where it was associated with infection, [9] but has not been reported in vasculitides. Our patient had significant dryness of eyes within a few weeks of the lacrimal gland involvement. We attribute this to extensive lacrimal gland necrosis in view of the absence of features to suggest the possibility of secondary Sjogren's syndrome. Possibility of iatrogenic incision related lacrimal ductile damage or a sequel to lacrimal gland biopsy did not appear the likely cause for dry eyes in view of significant time lag between these procedures and development of dry eyes. To the best of our knowledge, lacrimal gland abscess leading to ocular sicca syndrome has not been reported in the English literature. Even in the cases of infective abscess as reported earlier, [9] neither of the patients went on to develop dry eyes.

Ptosis is relatively a common feature in large vessel vasculitides, such as temporal arteritis and Behcet's disease, but has rarely been described in WG. [10] While in large vessel vasculitis oculomotor nerve involvement is the most likely cause, in WG there may be multiple ocular pathologies, including retinal involvement. Our patient did not have any other ocular features except dacroadentis. While right eye ptosis improved with regression of lacrimal gland tumor suggesting mechanical ptosis, left-sided ptosis persisted despite regression of lacrimal gland swelling. We postulate that the ptosis in our patient was probably due to focal angiopathy and ischemia leading to partial sympathetic nerve involvement. A possibility of iatrogenic complication subsequent to lacrimal gland biopsy causing dehiscence of levator palpabre superioris, however, could not be ruled out.

Thus, this was a rare case with uncommon ocular manifestations of WG in one patient. Dacroadenitis in WG can be one of the early features of the disease and may be associated with poor ocular outcome including suppurative dacroadenitis and dry eyes.

  Acknowledgment Top

We acknowledge the help of Dr. Shilpa Kodkany, Consultant ophthalmologist, KLES Dr. Prabhakar Kore Hospital and MRC, Belgaum, Karnataka, India, for surgical intervention including biopsy of the lacrimal gland swelling.

  References Top

Hoffman GS, Kerr GS, Leavitt RY, Hallahan CW, Lebovics RS, Travis WD, et al. Wegener granulomatosis: An analysis of 158 patients. Ann Intern Med 1992;116:488-98.  Back to cited text no. 1
Bullen CL, Liesegang TJ, McDonald TJ, DeRemee RA. Ocular complications of Wegener's granulomatosis. Ophthalmology 1983;90:279-90.   Back to cited text no. 2
Valmaggia C, Neuweiler J. Orbital involvement as the first manifestation in classic Wegener's granulomatosis. Orbit 2001;20:231-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
Harper SL, Letko E, Samson CM, Zafirakis P, Sangwan V, Nguyen Q, et al. Wegener's granulomatosis: The relationship between ocular and systemic disease. J Rheumatol 2001;28:1025-32.  Back to cited text no. 4
Kopstein AB, Kristopaitis T, Gujrati TM, Blake KA, Bouchard CS. Orbital Wegener granulomatosis without systemic findings. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg 1999;15:467-9.   Back to cited text no. 5
Soheilian M, Bagheri A, Aletaha M. Dacryoadenitis as the earliest presenting manifestation of systemic Wegener's granulomatosis. Eur J Ophthalmol 2002;12:241-3.   Back to cited text no. 6
Kiratli H, Sekeroðlu MA, Soylemezoðlu F. Unilateral dacryoadenitis as the sole presenting sign of Wegener's granulomatosis. Orbit 2008;27:157-60.  Back to cited text no. 7
Leavitt JA, Butrus SI. Wegener's granulomatosis presenting as dacryoadenitis. Cornea 1991;10:542-5.  Back to cited text no. 8
McNab AA. Lacrimal gland abscess: Two case reports. Aust N Z J Ophthalmol 1999;27:75-8.  Back to cited text no. 9
Pulido JS, Goeken JA, Nerad JA, Sobol WM, Folberg R. Ocular manifestations of patients with circulating antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies. Arch Ophthalmol 1990;108:845-50.  Back to cited text no. 10


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

This article has been cited by
1 Wegeneræs granulomatosis with pulmonary fungal infection: A case report and brief review
He, Y., Liu, J., Gao, B.
Journal of International Medical Research. 2012; 40(1): 383-392
2 Ocular manifestations of Wegeneræs granulomatosis
Isa, H., Lightman, S., Pusey, C.D., Taylor, S.R.
Expert Review of Ophthalmology. 2011; 6(5): 541-555
3 Ocular manifestations of Wegener’s granulomatosis
Hazlita Isa,Susan Lightman,Charles D Pusey,Simon RJ Taylor
Expert Review of Ophthalmology. 2011; 6(5): 541
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
Case Report
Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded171    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 3    

Recommend this journal