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Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 263-264  

Bilateral congenital lacrimal fistula in down syndrome

Department of Ophthalmology, Advanced Eye Center, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Date of Web Publication9-Jul-2013

Correspondence Address:
Manpreet Singh
Senior Resident, Department of Ophthalmology, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-9233.114807

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Congenital lacrimal fistulae are rare in Down syndrome and bilateral presentation is very unusual. It can be associated with nasolacrimal duct obstruction. We report a 3-year-old female with Down syndrome who presented with watering and discharge from both eyes and bilateral fistulous openings present inferonasal to the medial canthus. Upon examination, the lacrimal sac regurgitation test was positive on both sides. Our case report documents a distinctive case of bilateral congenital lacrimal fistulae in association with Down syndrome. It was managed successfully by primary fistulectomy and nasolacrimal duct probing.

Keywords: Down Syndrome, Fistulectomy, Lacrimal Fistula, Nasolacrimal Duct

How to cite this article:
Singh M, Singh U. Bilateral congenital lacrimal fistula in down syndrome. Middle East Afr J Ophthalmol 2013;20:263-4

How to cite this URL:
Singh M, Singh U. Bilateral congenital lacrimal fistula in down syndrome. Middle East Afr J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2013 [cited 2021 Oct 18];20:263-4. Available from: http://www.meajo.org/text.asp?2013/20/3/263/114807

   Introduction Top

Bilateral congenital lacrimal fistulae constitute a rare anomaly of the lacrimal system. In this, an epithelium-lined tract connects the skin to common canaliculus, lacrimal sac or nasolacrimal duct. [1] It has been systemically associated with thalassemia, preauricular fistulae, hypospadias, Down syndrome and VACTERL (vertebral anomalies, anal atresia, cardiac malformations, tracheo-esophageal fistula, renal anomalies, and limb anomalies) in previous reports. [2],[3],[4] In the following report we present a case of bilateral congenital lacrimal fistulae associated with Down syndrome and its surgical management.

   Case Report Top

A 3-year-old female presented with watering and mucoid discharge from both eyes and from small skin holes on both sides. She was a known case of Down's syndrome with mental retardation and delayed developmental milestones with no family history of similar complaints. On examination she had telecanthus and had typical mongoloid facies with upward slant of lateral canthus. Bilateral fistulous openings were seen inferonasal to medial canthus. Lacrimal sac regurgitation test was positive on both sides.

Evaluation of the lacrimal system was performed under general anesthesia. The right eye had a direct fistulous tract 4.5 mm in length communicating with the lower canaliculus [Figure 1]. Two No. 1 Bowman's probes, one from the puncta and the other from the fistula were simultaneously guided till they touched each other. In the left eye the fistulous tract was communicating with the lower portion of lacrimal sac [Figure 2]. On bilateral probing, soft stops were encountered at the beginning of nasolacrimal ducts which were overcome with minimal force. Patency of the nasolacrimal duct was confirmed by syringing and retrieval of fluorescein dye from the nose on suction. Both the tracts were excised partially by performing a fusiform incision around the fistulous ostium along the skin tension lines. The tract was held with a tooth forceps and was separated from the surrounding tissue with Vannas scissors and 3/4 was excised. The base of the fistula was cauterized and no regurgitation of fluid was noted on syringing. Surrounding tissue and skin was sutured with 6-0 vicryl suture. Histopathology of the excised tracts showed duct lined by stratified squamous epithelium. At 4 months follow-up, the patient was symptom free and no fistulous openings were visible.
Figure 1: Right eye-irrigation canula seen coming out from the fistulous opening

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Figure 2: Left eye-syringing with fluorescein dye. Dye droplet seen coming out from the fistulous opening

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   Comment Top

Congenital lacrimal fistulas are rare developmental anomalies of the nasolacrimal excretory system with an estimated incidence of one in 2,000 births. [5] There is no sex or race predilection. Most of the fistulas are unilateral and typically located inferonasal to the medial canthal angle. The majority remain asymptomatic with patent nasolacrimal ducts.

Ours is a rare case of congenital bilateral lacrimal fistulae with nasolacrimal duct obstruction in a pediatric patient with Down syndrome. To our knowledge (recent PubMed search on Down syndrome), there is only one case with bilateral congenital lacrimal fistula reported by Keserü et al. [6] Sullivan et al. [7] reported five cases of Down's syndrome, all of which were unilateral and managed conservatively or with fistulectomy. None of the patients reported in these previous publications [6],[7] had associated nasolacrimal duct obstruction. Nasolacrimal duct obstruction can be managed with probing and/or dacryocystorhinostomy depending on the age of the patient. Bilateral fistulous tract excision along with bilateral nasolacrimal duct probing was effective in our patient.

   References Top

1.Maden A, Yilmaz S, Tue M. Hereditary lacrimal fistula. Orbit 2008;27:69-72.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Welham RA, Bates AK, Stasior GO. Congenital lacrimal fistula. Eye 1992;6:211-214.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Birchansky LD, Nerad JA, Kersten RC, Kulwin DR. Management of congenital lacrimal sac fistula. Arch Ophthalmol 1990; 108:388.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Harrison AR, Dailey RA, Wobig JL. Bilateral congenital lacrimal anlage ducts (lacrimal fistula) in a patient with the VACTERL association. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg 2002;18:149-150.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Francois J, Bacskulin J. External Congenital fistulae of the lacrimal sac.Ophthalmologica 1969;159:249-261.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Keserü M, Richard G, Galambos P. A Case of Bilateral Lacrimal Fistula associatedwith Down syndrome. Orbit 2010;29:153-154.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Sullivan TJ, Clarke MP, Brazel S, et al. Congenital lacrimal fistula associatedwith Down's syndrome. Am J Ophthalmol 1992;113:215-216.  Back to cited text no. 7


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

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