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Friedrich P. Paulsen, Andreas B. Thale, Uta J. Hallmann, Ulrich Schaudig, Bernhard N. Tillmann; The Cavernous Body of the Human Efferent Tear Ducts: Function in Tear Outflow Mechanism. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2000;41(5):965-970.
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purpose. To determine the structure and function of a system of large blood
vessels integrated in the bony canal between the orbit and the inferior
methods. Thirty-one dissected lacrimal systems of adults were analyzed by using
gross anatomy, histology, and electron microscopy as well as corrosion
results. More than two thirds of the bony canal between orbit and inferior nasal
duct is filled by a plexus of wide-lumened veins and arteries. The
vascular system is embedded in the wall of the lacrimal sac and
nasolacrimal duct and is connected to the cavernous tissue of the
inferior turbinate. Three types of blood vessels can be distinguished
inside the vascular tissue that surrounds the lumen of the lacrimal
passage: barrier arteries, capacitance veins, and throttle veins.
conclusions. The surrounding vascular plexus of the lacrimal sac and nasolacrimal
duct is comparable to a cavernous body. While regulating the blood
flow, the specialized blood vessels permit opening and closing of the
lumen of the lacrimal passage, effected by the bulging and subsiding of
the cavernous body, and at the same time regulate tear outflow. Other
functions such as drainage of absorbed tear fluid components and a role
in immunologic response are under discussion as well. Malfunctions in
the cavernous body may lead to disturbances in the tear outflow cycle,
ocular congestion, or total occlusion of the lacrimal passages.
Variations in the conditions for swelling of the cavernous tissue may
have led to the (mistaken) description of valves in the lacrimal
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