Primary lacrimal canaliculitis – A clinical entity often misdiagnosed

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Purpose: Primary lacrimal canaliculitis (PLC) is a unique disorder which often gets misdiagnosed by the general as well as speciality-trained ophthalmologists. Elderly patients with history of chronic or recurrent epiphora with discharge, often get mislead towards chronic dacryocystitis. The aim of our report is to discuss the misleading diseases in our PLC patients and to revisit this hidden disease. Methods: The patients of PLC who were previously misdiagnosed were studied. The clinical history, presenting clinical features, misdiagnosis, and final management of the patients is described. Results: There were 5 misdiagnosed female patients. A history of chronic redness, watering, discharge, and medial canthal region edema lead to the misdiagnosis of chronic dacryocystitis in 3 (60%) and medial marginal chalazion in 2 (40%) cases. Slit-lamp examination revealed localized hyperemia (n = 5), classical pouting of lacrimal punctum (n = 3), and expressible purulent discharge (n = 3). Two patients without punctum pouting had an explicit yellowish hue/discoloration of the canalicular region. Our patients had a mean 4 visits before an accurate diagnosis. Three-snip punctoplasty with canalicular curettage was performed in three while two were managed conservatively. At last follow-up, all patients were symptom-free with punctum and canalicular scarring in three, who underwent surgery. Conclusion: PLC is a frequently misdiagnosed clinical entity which delays the initiation of appropriate treatment. A succinct magnified examination of punctum and canalicular region can provide sufficient clues pivotal for accurate diagnosis.




Singh, M., Gautam, N., Agarwal, A., & Kaur, M. (2018). Primary lacrimal canaliculitis – A clinical entity often misdiagnosed. Journal of Current Ophthalmology, 30(1), 87–90.

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