Secretory Glands - The Lacrimal Gland

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There are two lacrimal glands in the body, one in each eye. Their function is to produce the fluid that cleans and protects the surface of the eye. They also produce tears. They are situated above each eyeball, towards the outer part of the eyelid.

• The lacrimal gland secretes the fluid it creates through a series of lacrimal ducts, so that it can flow over the surface of the eye
• The fluid then flows into a series of canals at the bottom corner of the eye into the lacrimal lake, and on to the lacrimal sac
From the lacrimal sac, the fluid flows through the nasolacrimal duct into the nose.

Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC) is the most common salivary gland-type cancer to occur in the lacrimal gland, followed by Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma, and Adenocarcinoma not-otherwise-specified (NOS).

Tumour growth in the lacrimal gland can cause a wide range of symptoms, including bulging eyes, drooping of the upper eyelid, and pain and numbness in the area (this is most common with ACC, which often grows along nerve cells).  

Watery eyes can also be a symptom.