- Human pathology

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Monday 16 November 2020

lacrimation, lachrymation

Patients will frequently present with "a watery eye" or "a tearing eye." Historically, this was called epiphora, but there have been recent variations in the use of different terms. Lacrimation (or lachrymation) is derived from "lacrima," Latin for tear, and essentially means "production of tears," although it is often used to describe the "shedding of tears," or to cry. Lacrimation may be basal (basic tear production), reflexive (to stimuli such as surface irritation, glare, corneal ulcer, corneal exposure), and psychic (emotional). It is thought that animals do not exhibit emotional lacrimation, although recent observations of elephant mothers responding to their dead offspring have reignited this debate. The sympathetic innervation to the lacrimal gland is thought to stimulate basal tear secretion. Basal tear production decreases with increasing age resulting in progressive acinar atrophy, fibrosis, and lymphocytic infiltrates.

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