Lacrimal gland

Lacrimal gland

Infobox Anatomy
Latin = glandula lacrimalis
GraySubject = 227
GrayPage = 1028

Caption = Lacrimal apparatus of the right eye. The lacrimal gland is to the upper left. The right side of the picture is towards the nose.

Caption2 = Tear system.

a = lacrimal gland
b = superior lacrimal punctum
c = superior lacrimal canal
d = lacrimal sac
e = inferior lacrimal punctum
f = inferior lacrimal canal
g = nasolacrimal canal
Precursor =
System =
Artery = lacrimal artery
Vein =
Nerve = lacrimal nerve, facial nerve
Lymph =
MeshName =
MeshNumber =
DorlandsPre = g_06
DorlandsSuf = 12392431
The lacrimal glands are paired almond-shaped glands, one for each eye, that secrete the aqueous layer of the tear film. They are situated in the upper, outer portion of each orbit.

Gross anatomy

Each lacrimal gland is divided into orbital and palpebral portions by the aponeurosis of the Levator palpebrae superioris muscle, the portions are continuous with each other.

* The "orbital portion" is the largest of the portions, and its convex superior surface is lodged in the lacrimal fossa of the orbit.
* For the smaller "palpebral portion", its inferior surface lies close to the eye; if the upper eyelid is everted, the palpebral portion can be seen.

The orbital portion contains fine interlobular ducts that unite to form 3 - 5 main excretory ducts, joining 5 - 7 ducts in the palpebral portion before the secreted fluid may enter on the surface of the eye. Tears secreted collect in the fornix conjunctiva of the upper lid, and pass over the eye surface to the lacrimal puncta. [ "eye, human."Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica 2006 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD 5 Apr. 2008 ]


The lacrimal gland is a compound tubuloacinar gland, it is made up of many lobules separated by connective tissue, each lobule contains many acini. The acini contain only serous cells and produce a watery serous secretion.

Each acinus consists of a grape-like mass of "lacrimal gland cells" with their apices pointed to a central lumen.

The central lumen of many of the units united to form intralobular ducts, and then unite to from interlobular ducts. The gland lacks striated ducts.


The "sensory innervation" to the lacrimal gland is from the lacrimal nerve of the trigeminal nerve.

The "parasympathetic nerve supply" originates from the lacrimal nucleus of the facial nerve in the pons. Just distal to the geniculate ganglion, the facial nerve gives off the greater petrosal nerve. This nerve carries the parasympathetic secretomotor fibers through the pterygoid canal to the pterygopalatine ganglion. Here the fibers synapse and postganglionic fibers join the fibers of the Maxillary Nerve, which travels through the inferior orbital fissure. Once it has traversed this opening, the parasympathetic secretomotor fibers branch off with the zygomatic nerve and then branch off again, joining with the lacrimal branch of the ophthalmic division of CN V, which innervates the lacrimal gland.

The "sympathetic postganglionic fibres" originates from the superior cervical ganglion. They travel as a periarteriolar plexus with the middle meningeal artery, before they merge and form the deep petrosal nerve, which joins the greater petrosal nerve in the pterygoid canal. Together, greater petrosal and deep petrosal nerves form the nerve of the pterygoid canal (vidian nerve) and reach the pterygopalatine ganglion in the pterygopalatine fossa.In contrast to their parasympathetic counterparts, sympathetic fibers do not synapse in the pterygopalatine ganglion, having done so already in the sympathetic trunk. However, they continue to course with the parasympathetic fibers innervating the lacrimal gland.

Blood supply

The lacrimal artery, derived from the ophthalmic artery supplies the lacrimal gland. Venous blood returns via the superior ophthalmic vein.


*Sjögren's syndrome


ee also

*Lacrimal apparatus


External links

* (NormanAnatomyFig|orbit2)

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lacrimal gland — A small almond shaped structure that produces tears; located just above the outer corner of the eye. The lacrimal gland is part of the lacrimal apparatus, the system that forms tears, conveys them through the lacrimal (tear) duct to the eye, and… …   Medical dictionary

  • lacrimal gland — noun any of the glands in the eyes that secrete tears • Syn: ↑lachrymal gland, ↑tear gland • Hypernyms: ↑exocrine gland, ↑exocrine, ↑duct gland • Part Holonyms: ↑lacrimal appar …   Useful english dictionary

  • lacrimal gland — A gland that secretes tears. The lacrimal glands are found in the upper, outer part of each eye socket …   English dictionary of cancer terms

  • lacrimal gland — lac′rimal gland n. anat. either of two tear secreting glands situated in the outer angle of the orbit in mammals • Etymology: 1780–90 …   From formal English to slang

  • lacrimal gland — Anat. either of two tear secreting glands situated in the upper outer angle of the orbit. [1780 90] * * * …   Universalium

  • lacrimal gland — noun One of a pair almond shaped glands, one for each eye, that secrete the aqueous layer of the tear film …   Wiktionary

  • Lacrimal sac — The lacrimal apparatus. Right side. (Lacrimal sac visible at upper right.) …   Wikipedia

  • lacrimal nerve — n a small branch of the ophthalmic nerve that enters the lacrimal gland with the lacrimal artery and supplies the lacrimal gland and the adjacent conjunctiva and the skin of the upper eyelid * * * a branch of the ophthalmic nerve that supplies… …   Medical dictionary

  • lacrimal apparatus — n the bodily parts which function in the production of tears including the lacrimal glands, lacrimal ducts, lacrimal sacs, nasolacrimal ducts, and lacrimal puncta * * * the structures that produce and drain away fluid from the eye. The lacrimal… …   Medical dictionary

  • lacrimal duct — n 1) a short canal leading from a minute orifice on a small elevation at the medial angle of each eyelid to the lacrimal sac called also lacrimal canal, lacrimal canaliculus 2) any of several small ducts that carry tears from the lacrimal gland… …   Medical dictionary

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