Lacrimal bone

Medically reviewed by Healthline Medical Team on January 12, 2015Published on January 12, 2015

The lacrimal bone is perhaps the most fragile bone of the face and one of the smallest bones in the body. Spanning between the middle of each eye socket, each lacrimal is thin and scalelike and serves as support for the eye. The pair of lacrimal bones are two of the fourteen facial bones.

The lacrimal has two surfaces: the nasal surface, which faces the nose, and the orbital surface, which faces the eye socket. It is similar in size to a fingernail and this rectangular-shaped bone is near the frontal bone, the maxilla, the ethmoid, and the inferior nasal concha.

The orbital surface of the lacrimal is parted by a ridge called the posterior lacrimal crest. It divides the lacrimal bone into two sections: the lacrimal sulcus and the orbial plate. The posterior lacrimal crest also creates a space for the lacrimal duct, a tube that allows tears to travel from the eyes to the nasal passages. The bone receives its name from that function; lacrimal is derived from the Latin word for tears.

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