written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen•edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•updated: 11/27/2009
The lacrimal bone is a small, fragile bone located in the eye socket. Many people are not aware of this bone and do not know anything about it, so this article will help provide all of the important information on this skull bone.
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The lacrimal bone is located between the maxilla and the ethmoid bone. It is in the eye sockets in the middle walls within them. It is a scalelike, thin structure. The groove located in the front of this bone goes from the orbit through to the nasal cavity. This skull bone is the most fragile bone in the skull, as well as the smallest. It has four borders and two surfaces.
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This skull bone works as a pathway for the tube that transports tears. It transports tears to the nasal cavity from the eyes.
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Because the lacrimal bone is very small and fragile, it can become fractured easily. Trauma to the face is the most common cause of fracture. When this skull bone is fractured, doctors may choose surgery to stabilize the fracture so that it heals properly or they may take a wait and see approach if the fracture is not causing any complications.
Orbit inflammation can affect this bone. The orbit is also referred to as the eye socket. When this is inflamed, patients can experience pain, eyeball redness, double vision, eyelid redness, eye bulging, and vision loss. Corticosteroids, administered orally or intravenously, are the most common mode of treatment.
Orbit infections can affect all eye structures, including the lacrimal bone. These infections affect children most often, but adults can experience them as well. Patients with this infection can experience swelling, impaired eye movements, pain, impaired vision, and red eye. Treating these infections involves being admitted into the hospital and receiving antibiotics intravenously.
Bone cancer can affect this bone, though it rarely does. If bone cancer begins in this facial bone the patient may experience bone pain, unintentional weight loss, tenderness around the eyes, weakened bones that may result in fractures, swelling around the eye, and fatigue. Treating bone cancer most often involves chemotherapy and radiation, but in some cases, doctors may use surgery to remove the tumor, especially if it is causing trouble with tears, crying, and sinuses.
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Mayo Clinic. (2009). Bone Cancer. Retrieved on November 20, 2009 from Website: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bone-cancer/DS00520
Merck. (2009). Infections of the Orbit. Retrieved on November 20, 2009 from Website: http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec20/ch236/ch236b.html
Merck. (2009). Inflammation of the Orbit. Retrieved on November 20, 2009 from Website: http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec20/ch236/ch236c.html
Inner Body. (2009). Lacrimal Bone. Retrieved on November 20, 2009 from Website: http://www.innerbody.com/image_skel01/skel47_new_skull.html