Periocular tuberculous disease: experience from a UK eye hospital

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To describe our experience of patients presenting to a tertiary referral adnexal department with orbital or periocular tuberculosis (TB) over a 10-year period.


We reviewed all patients with a diagnosis of orbital or periocular TB from 2001 to 2011 in Moorfields Eye Hospital.


Nine patients were identified over the 10-year period. Three cases of cutaneous TB, two cases of TB dacryocystitis and four cases of diffuse orbital TB were identified. All patients lived in the UK, but were born in the African or Asian subcontinents. Three patients had known prior (and treated) pulmonary TB and all were immunocompetent.All patients presented with periocular discomfort. After tissue diagnosis, all patients were referred for triple antituberculous therapy (ATT); all patients completed their course of ATT, with resolution of all orbital and lacrimal masses. There were no recurrences at a median follow-up of 26 weeks (range 1 month–5 years). One patient, who required later evisceration, was the only case with loss of vision.


Orbital and periocular TB can be difficult to diagnose and lead to diagnostic delays, with emphasis on clinical suspicion rather than a positive culture result; the management of such cases is not only surgical, but also medical and social. Although surgical intervention can alleviate symptoms and prevent visual loss, the use of a complete course of ATT is paramount for disease management and the patient and their family need to be counselled about the associated public health issues.

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