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Lacrimal gland tumor

Definition

A lacrimal gland tumor is a tumor in one of the glands that produces tears. The lacrimal gland is located under the outer part of each eyebrow. Lacrimal gland tumors can be harmless (benign) or cancerous (malignant). About half of lacrimal gland tumors are benign.

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Double vision
  • Fullness in one eyelid or the side of the face
  • Pain

Exams and Tests

You may first be examined by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist). You may then be evaluated by a head and neck doctor (otolaryngologist, or ENT), or a doctor who specializes in problems with the bony eye socket (orbit).

Tests most often include a CT or MRI scan.

Treatment

Most lacrimal gland tumors will need to be removed with surgery. Cancerous tumors may need other treatment too, such as radiation or chemotherapy.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outlook is most often excellent for noncancerous growths. The outlook for cancer depends on the type of cancer and stage at which it is discovered.

References

Cioffi GA, Liebmann JM. Diseases of the visual system. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 395.

Dutton JJ. Orbital diseases. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 12.10.

Houghton O, Gordon K. Ocular tumors. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Kastan MB, Doroshow JH, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 64.

Strianese D, Bonavolonta G, Dolman PJ, Fay A. Lacrimal gland tumors. In: Fay A, Dolman PJ, eds. Diseases and Disorders of the Orbit and Ocular Adnexa. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 17.


Review Date: 8/8/2019
Reviewed By: Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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