Keratoconjunctivitis sicca associated with achalasia of the cardia, adrenocortical insufficiency, and lacrimal gland degeneration: Keratoconjunctivitis sicca secondary to lacrimal gland degeneration may parallel degenerative changes in esophageal and a
Mullaney PB. Weatherhead R. Millar L. Ayyash II. Ayberk H. Cai F. Risco JM.
King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
OBJECTIVE/DESIGN: This study aimed to examine and describe three siblings with alacrima, the eldest of whom had associated achalasia and adrenocortical insufficiency. PARTICIPANTS: Three affected siblings and four age-matched control subjects participated. INTERVENTION/MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The three children underwent complete ophthalmologic examinations; computed tomographic scanning of brain, orbit, chest, and abdomen; and measurement of serum cortisol. All three were subjected to a short synacthen challenge. Lacrimal gland biopsies were performed on the two younger subjects, and specimens were studied by light and electron microscopy. RESULTS: All three children showed virtually absent tear secretion as tested by the Schirmer test. The resulting keratopathy was most severe in the oldest child, who developed bilateral corneal melting. The two younger children showed interpalpebral corneal staining with rose bengal. All three children improved after punctal occlusion. Addison's disease was present in the oldest child. Computed tomographic scanning showed absent lacrimal and shrunken adrenal glands in association with achalasia of the cardia in the oldest child. The lacrimal glands were found to be reduced in size in the next eldest child. When evaluated by electron microscopy, the lacrimal gland biopsy specimens from the two younger children showed neuronal degeneration associated with depletion of secretory granules in the acinar cells. CONCLUSION: In this disease, radiologic evidence of reducing lacrimal gland size with increasing age could represent a degenerative process. This may be paralleled by other signs and the possibility of adrenocortical insufficiency and achalasia of the cardia should be investigated in all children presenting with dry eyes. These children appear to have a progressive neuronal disease.