Lacrimal apparatus


The lacrimal apparatus is the collective design of the lacrimal ducts which secrete tears (the lacrimal fluid,) and a few extra ducts that allow extra lacrimal fluid to drain into the nasal cavity. The almond-like lacrimal gland can be found along the superolateral segment of the orbit.

The tuberolacrimal gland requires numerous ducts to excrete the tears into the conjunctival sac. Lacrimal fluid is part of the process of cleansing and wetting the eye, as the blinking of the eye washes the eyeball in the necessary tears.


The lacrimal puncta is found on either side of the lacrimal caruncle, and represents the two small drainage vessels required. This is the first point along the tract that the tears take through the lacrimal system. The second point includes the inferior and superior lacrimal canaliculi. These accept the drainage from the caruncle and pass the fluid onto the lacrimal sac, where it can then drain through the lacrimal duct. From there, the tears will drain directly into the nasal cavity via the inferior meatus of the cavity. Lacrimal fluid, which is a mucous based fluid, helps reduce the risks of infection as it contains a built in bactericidal substance, lysozyme, to help ward off bacteria.


Lacrimal apparatus
Image: Lacrimal Apparatus


Each lacrimal gland of each individual eye is known to produce about 1 milliliter of lacrimal fluid in a 24 hour period. Aggrevating substances cause greater amounts of fluids, such sand, dust, pollen, or onion, as the conjunctiva requires greater amounts to remain moist. The aggrevating substances are typically washed away from the conjunctiva by the additional lacrimal fluids.

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