Nasolacrimal duct obstruction and orbital cellulitis associated with chronic intranasal cocaine abuse

George Alexandrakis, David T. Tse, Robert H. Rosa, Thomas E. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To report the association of acquired nasolacrimal duct obstruction and orbital cellulitis in patients with a history of chronic intranasal cocaine abuse. Methods: Retrospective, consecutive case series. Results of imaging, histopathologic examinations, and clinical courses of these patients were studied. Results: Five women and 2 men (mean age, 41 years) with a history of chronic intranasal cocaine abuse (mean, 11 years; range, 5-20 years) presented with epiphora and in some cases acute onset of periorbital pain, edema, and erythema associated with fever. The suspicion of intranasal cocaine abuse was made on anterior rhinoscopy with the detection of an absent nasal septum and inferior turbinate. Computed tomographic and magnetic resonance imaging findings in 4 patients included extensive bony destruction of the normal orbital wall architecture, opacification of the sinuses, and the presence of an intraorbital tissue mass. Histopathologic examination of the nasolacrimal duct in 2 patients and of the orbital mass in a third patient revealed marked chronic inflammation with fibrosis causing secondary nasolacrimal duct obstruction. Six patients were treated with systemic antibiotics followed by dacryocystorhinostomy in 3 patients, and a pericranial flap to insulate the exposed orbit in 1 patient. Conclusions: Chronic intranasal cocaine abuse can result in extensive bony destruction of the orbital walls with associated orbital cellulitis, and should be included in the differential diagnosis of acquired nasolacrimal duct obstruction. Anterior rhinoscopy is very helpful in establishing the correct diagnosis in these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1617-1622
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of ophthalmology
Volume117
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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