lacrimal fluid

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Related to lacrimal fluid: lachrymation, tears, tares

lacrimal fluid

a watery physiologic saline, with a plasmalike consistency, but also contains the bacteriocidal enzyme lysozyme; it moistens the conjunctiva and cornea, providing nutrients and dissolved O2 to the cornea.
Synonym(s): tears

film, precorneal

The field covering the anterior surface of the cornea which consists of lacrimal fluid and of the secretion of the meibomian and conjunctival glands. Its total thickness was thought to be about 9 μm but recent investigations have questioned that value and point to a much larger figure. It is composed of three layers: (1) The deepest and densest is the mucin layer (or mucous layer) which derives from the conjunctival goblet cells, as well as some secretion from the lacrimal gland. (2) The watery lacrimal fluid is the middle layer, called the lacrimal (or aqueous layer). It is secreted by the lacrimal gland and the accessory glands of Krause and Wolfring. It forms the bulk of the film and contains most of the bactericidal lysosyme and other proteins, inorganic salts, sugars, amino acids, urea, etc. (3) The oily layer (or lipid layer) is the most superficial and is derived principally from the meibomian glands in the lids as well as some secretion from the glands of Zeis. It greatly slows the evaporation of the watery layer and may provide a lubrication effect between lid and cornea (Fig. F6). Note: Some authors have suggested that the precorneal film is made up of only two layers; an innermost aqueous and mucin gel layer and an outer lipid layer. Syn. lacrimal layer; preocular tear film; tear film; tear layer. See hyperlacrimation; mucin; tear secretion; Tearscope; break-up time test.
Fig. F6 Diagram of the three layers of the precorneal film attached to the squamous epithelial cellsenlarge picture
Fig. F6 Diagram of the three layers of the precorneal film attached to the squamous epithelial cells


The clear watery fluid secreted by the lacrimal gland which, together with the secretions from the meibomian glands, the goblet cells, the gland of Zeis, as well as the accessory lacrimal glands of Krause and Wolfring, helps to maintain the conjunctiva and cornea moist and healthy. Periodic involuntary blinking spreads the tears over the cornea and conjunctiva and causes a pumping action of the lacrimal drainage system, through the lacrimal puncta into the nasolacrimal duct. Approximately 25% of the tears is lost by evaporation, the remaining 75% is pumped into the nasal cavity and over 60% of the tear volume is drained through the lower canaliculus. Tears contain water (98.2%), salts, lipids (e.g. wax esters, sterol esters, hydrocarbons, polar lipids, triglycerides and free fatty acids), proteins (e.g. lysozyme, lactoferrin, albumin, IgA, IgE, IgG, complement proteins C3, C4, C5 and C9, and beta-lysin), magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium, chloride, bicarbonate, urea, ammonia, nitrogen, citric acid, ascorbic acid, and mucin. Tears have a pH varying between 7.3 and 7.7 (shifting to a slightly less alkaline value when the eye is closed) and the quantity secreted per hour is between 30 and 120 ml. Syn. lacrimal fluid. See alacrima; blink; epiphora; precorneal film; hyperlacrimation; keratoconjunctivitis sicca; lacrimal apparatus; lacrimal lake; lysozyme; mucin; fluorescein staining; break-up time test; non-invasive break-up time test; phenol red cotton thread test; Schirmer's test.
artificial tears Any eye drop solution that can replace tears by approximating its consistency in terms of viscosity and tonicity and may contain many of the substances found in tears. The most common agents found in artificial tears are cellulose derivatives, such as methylcellulose, hydroxymethylcellulose, hydroxypropylcellulose, hypromellose (hydroxypropylmethylcellulose), hydroxyethylcellulose, and polyvinyl alcohol, povidone (polyvinyl pyrrolidine), sodium hyaluronate and sodium chloride, which have low viscosity. Carbomer (polyacrylic acid), carmellose (carbomethylcellulose), liquid paraffin and yellow soft paraffin have medium to high viscosity. Acetylcysteine, a mucolytic agent prepared with hypromellose is used when the tear deficiency is associated with threads and filaments of mucus to soften and make the mucus more fluid, as well as shrinking the mucous membranes (astringent). Syn. ocular lubricant. See alacrima; recurrent corneal erosion; ectropion; dry eye; hypromellose; keratoconjunctivitis sicca; methylcellulose; Bell's palsy; wetting solution; xerophthalmia.
crocodile tears Copious secretion of tears occurring during eating in cases of abnormal regeneration of the seventh cranial nerve after recovery from Bell's palsy. Syn. paradoxic lacrimation.

lac·ri·mal flu·id

(lak'ri-măl flū'id)
Watery physiologic saline that also contains the bacteriocidal enzyme lysozyme; it moistens the conjunctiva and cornea.
Synonym(s): tears.


1. a liquid or gas; any liquid of the body.
2. composed of molecules which freely change their relative positions without separation of the mass.

allantoic fluid
the fluid contained within the allantois.
amniotic fluid
the fluid within the amnion that bathes the developing fetus and protects it from mechanical injury.
ascitic fluid
see ascites.
fluid balance
a state in which the volume of body water and its solutes (electrolytes and nonelectrolytes) are within normal limits and there is normal distribution of fluids within the intracellular and extracellular compartments. The total volume of body fluids should be about 60% of the body weight, and it should be distributed so that one-third is extracellular fluid and two-thirds intracellular fluid. Although this distribution remains constant in a healthy animal, there is continuous movement of fluid into and out of the various compartments. See also dehydration, water intoxication.
body f's
the fluids within the body, composed of water, electrolytes and nonelectrolytes. The volume and distribution of body fluids vary with age, sex and amount of adipose tissue. Throughout life there is a slow decline in the volume of body fluids; obesity decreases the relative amount of water in the body.
Although the body fluids are continuously in motion, moving in and out of the cells, tissue spaces and vascular system, physiologists consider them to be 'compartmentalized'. Fluid within the cell membranes is called intracellular fluid and comprises about two-thirds of the total body fluids. The remaining one-third is outside the cell and is called extracellular fluid. The extracellular fluid can be further divided into tissue fluid (interstitial fluid), which is found in the spaces between the blood vessels and surrounding cells, and intravascular fluid, which is the fluid component of blood.
The maintenance of a proper balance between the intracellular and extracellular fluid volumes is essential to health. In patients with heart failure and renal failure the balance becomes upset, producing either localized or generalized edema. Excessive fluid loss produces fluid volume deficit causing cellular dehydration and impaired cellular function.
Bouin's fluid
a histological fixative.
cerebrospinal fluid
the fluid contained within the ventricles of the brain, the subarachnoid space, and the central canal of the spinal cord. See also cerebrospinal fluid.
fluid dram
see fluid dram.
fluid extract
a liquid preparation of a vegetable drug, containing alcohol as a solvent or preservative, or both, of such strength that each milliliter contains the therapeutic constituents of 1 gram of the standard drug it represents.
fetal fluid
allantoic plus amniotic fluids.
interstitial fluid
the extracellular fluid bathing the cells in most tissues, excluding the fluid within the lymph and blood vessels.
isotonic fluid
having the same tonicity or osmotic pressure as blood.
lacrimal fluid
aqueous fluid secreted by the lacrimal glands; called also tears.
fluid line
in radiographs, the interface between fluid and gas, as in the gastrointestinal tract, will show as a straight line.
fluid loss
by vomiting, diarrhea, polyuria, water deprivation. See dehydration.
fluid mosaic model
the modern concept of the structure of a biological membrane developed by S.J. Singer and G.L. Nicolson. In it the membrane consists of protein molecules partly embedded in a discontinuous bilayer of phospholipids that form the matrix of a mosaic of functional cell units.
fluid ounce
see fluid ounce.
pericardial, pleural, peritoneal fluid
normally present in amounts sufficient only to lubricate the movement of viscera within the respective cavities. Composition similar to blood serum.
fluid replacement
see fluid therapy (below).
fluid restriction
the limitation of oral fluid intake to a prescribed amount for each 24-hour period.
fluid retention
see edema.
spinal fluid
the fluid within the spinal canal.
fluid splashing sounds
audible when gas and fluid are free in a cavity, e.g. abomasum in cases of abomasal displacement; can be elicited by shaking a small animal or part of a large animal (i.e. succussion) or by simultaneous percussion and auscultation.
synovial fluid
fluid therapy
aims to replace fluids lost by disease process or by restriction of intake, or to maintain a high rate of fluid excretion to ensure removal of toxins, or to administer therapeutic or anesthetic agents slowly over a long period. The amounts and route of administration vary with the need of the patient. Normal solutions include 5% dextrose and Ringer's solution; alkalinizing fluids include lactated Ringer's and 1.3% sodium bicarbonate; acidifying solutions include isotonic saline and 1.9% ammonium chloride.
fluid thrill
see thrill.
fluid volume deficit
an imbalance in fluid volume in which there is loss of fluid from the body not compensated for by an adequate intake of water. The major causes are: (1) insufficient fluid intake, and (2) excessive fluid loss from vomiting, diarrhea, suctioning of gastric contents, or drainage through operative wounds, burns or fistulae. Decreased volume in the intravascular compartment is called hypovolemia. Because water moves freely between the compartments, extracellular fluid deficit causes intracellular fluid deficit (cellular dehydration), which leaves the cells without adequate water to carry on normal function.
fluid volume excess
an overabundance of water in the interstitial fluid spaces or body cavities (edema) or an excess of fluid within the blood vessels (hypervolemia) and water intoxication.
Factors that contribute to the accumulation of edematous fluid are: (1) dilatation of the arteries, as occurs in the inflammatory process; (2) reduced effective osmotic pressure, as in hypoproteinemia, lymphatic obstruction and increased capillary permeability; (3) increased venous pressure, as in congestive heart failure, thrombophlebitis and cirrhosis of the liver; and (4) retention of sodium due to increased reabsorption of sodium by the renal tubules.
fluid wave
see thrill.