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lacrimal gland

n. (context anatomy English) One of a pair almond-shaped glands, one for each eye, that secrete the aqueous layer of the tears film.

lacrimal gland

n. any of the glands in the eyes that secrete tears [syn: lachrymal gland, tear gland]

Lacrimal gland

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, in the lacrimal fossa of the orbit formed by the frontal-bone. Inflammation of the lacrimal-glands is called dacryoadenitis. The lacrimal-gland produces tears which then flow into canals that connect to the lacrimal sac. From that sac, the tears drain through the lacrimal duct into the nose.

Anatomists divide the gland into two sections. The smaller palpebral-portion lies close to the eye, along the inner-surface of the eyelid; 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, small holes found at the inner-corner of the eyelids. These pass the tears through the lacrimal canaliculi on to the lacrimal sac, in turn to the nasolacrimal duct, which dumps them out into the nose.