Lacrimal duct / gland

Topic Completed: 1 February 2014

Minor changes: 18 November 2019

Copyright: 2004-2019, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: Lacrimal duct [title] pathology

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N. Lacrimal duct: general. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/eyelacrimalductgland.html. Accessed May 28th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Lacrimal gland located in superiotemporal aspect of orbit, not palpable
  • Contributes secretions to tear film including IgA
  • Accessory lacrimal glands are embedded above fibrous tarsus of eyelid and in conjunctival fornix
  • Serous with minor mucinous component
  • Larger ducts have myoepithelial layer
  • Normally may have lymphocytes and plasma cells
  • Drainage apparatus is composed of puncta, canaliculi, lacrimal sac and nasolacrimal duct
  • Tears drain toward medial canthus, then through lacrimal punctum into lacrimal canaliculi, then nasolacrimal sac, then nasolacrimal duct, then nose
  • Puncta:
    • Opening in medial aspect of eyelid where tear fluid drains
  • Canaliculi (lacrimal duct):
    • Tubular structures 0.5 mm in diameter where puncta drains
    • Nonkeratinizing squamous epithelium surrounded by fibrous tissue
  • Lacrimal sac:
    • Merging of canaliculi, encased by bones of orbit
    • Stratified columnar epithelium with goblet cells
  • Nasolacrimal duct:
    • Drains lacrimal sac, 1 cm long, connects to inferior meatus of nose
    • Stratified columnar epithelium with goblet cells
  • Lacrimal duct disorders often cause epiphora (tears flow over lid margin onto cheek), induration, inflammation of lower eyelid
  • Tumors tend to displace eye downward because adjacent orbit restricts growth
  • Tumors are difficult to resect completely leading to high recurrence rate
  • Lacrimal gland is considered a minor salivary gland for tumor reporting
  • Regional lymph nodes are preauricular (parotid), submandibular and cervical

Images hosted on other servers:
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Lacrimal apparatus

Microscopic (histologic) images

AFIP images
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Glandular lobule next to ducts
lined by pseudostratified
epithelium with goblet cells

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Lobule of acinic and mucinous cells

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