Indian Journal of Ophthalmology

: 1984  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 179--180

Streptothrix canaliculitis

S Abdul Kareem, S Sathiavakesan 
 Government Ophthalmic Hospital Madras, India

Correspondence Address:
S Abdul Kareem
Tutor in Ophthalmology, Govt Ophthalmic Hospital, Madras 600 008

How to cite this article:
Kareem S A, Sathiavakesan S. Streptothrix canaliculitis.Indian J Ophthalmol 1984;32:179-180

How to cite this URL:
Kareem S A, Sathiavakesan S. Streptothrix canaliculitis. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 1984 [cited 2021 Jun 23 ];32:179-180
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Full Text

Primary infection of the Canaliculus is a rare disease which may present as a case of Epiphora, difficult to explain. As the block of the canaliculi is incomplete, partial syringing of the passages is possible, giving problem in diagnosis. Apart from epiphora, it may give rise to persistent conjunctivitis not respond­ing to treatment for several years and a poten­tial source for post-operative Intra-ocular infection. We are presenting a case of canaliculitis due to streptothrix infection.


A 23 year old male `R' presented with com­plaint of persistent watering in Right eye for past 6 months. Detailed examination showed conjunctivitis, mostly confined to the inner canthus, and a small concretion, projecting out partly from the lower punctum. The con­cretion became more prominent, when the lower canaliculus was pressed and there was local tenderness. After putting local anaes­thetic in the conjunctival sac, the concretion was gently removed. It was pale yellow in colour and very friable. A slide was prepared with that and Gram staining was done. Mic­roscopic picture revealed streptothrix organisms [Figure 1].

Microscopic picture: seen as slender filaments mostly seen as bacillary forms. Coccoid forms also occurred. It was Gram +Ve and Non acid fast. Carefully canaliculus was, curetted and all concretions removed and, Irrigated with penicillin solution.


Inflammation of the canaliculi constitute 2% of all lacrimal diseases. Among the organisms, causing canaliculitis Streptothrix is the most common. They occur as sap­rophytes in mouth, mainly in tonsillar crypts. They spread by extension or after trauma. Being anaerobic, canaliculus is a favourite site for them to grow. Streptothrix infection should always be remembered in every case of unexplained persistent epiphora. The other cardinal signs are (1) Swollen canaliculi, (2) Pouting of the punctum (3) friable concretion, in the punctum and (4) persistent conjunctivitis. Sometimes, the whole canalicular region may be swollen, simulating a seba­cious cyst, stye, chalazion and tumour. The concretions consist of colonies of strep­tothrix.


A rare case of streptothrix canaliculitis is presented, bringing out salient features about clinical picture and its importance to diagnose in clinical practice.[1]


1Duke Elder. S. 1974 System of Opthalmology. Vol. XIII Henry Kimpton. London.