Anatomy Tables - Eye


frontal orbital plate (N2, TG7-03, TG7-57) forms the roof of the orbit
superior orbital margin (N2, TG7-03, TG7-57) contains supraorbital notch or foramen
superciliary arches (N2, TG7-03, TG7-57) above orbital margins
supraorbital notch (foramen occasionally) (N2, TG7-03, TG7-57) in superior orbital margin, for supraorbital neurovascular bundle
ethmoid (N2, TG7-03, TG7-57) cribriform plateperforated for olfactory nerves (Latin, cribiform = sieve-like)
crista galli (TG7-07, TG7-08)superior projection into anterior cranial fossa which anchors falx cerebri anteriorly (Latin, crista galli = cock's comb)
anterior ethmoidal foramen (N2, TG7-57) opening in the medial wall of the orbit; transmits anterior ethmoidal vessels and nerve (Greek, ethmoid = sieve-like)
posterior ethmoidal foramen (N2, TG7-57) opening in the medial wall of the orbit; transmits posterior ethmoidal vessels and nerve (Greek, ethmoid = sieve-like)
lacrimal (N2A, N2B, TG7-57, TG7-04) forms part of the medial wall of the orbit; articulates: anteriorly with frontal process of maxilla; superiorly with frontal bone; posteriorly with ethmoid; inferiorly with orbital process of maxilla (Latin, lacrima = a tear)
sphenoid optic canal (N2,N11, TG7-57) foramen at lateral end of chiasmatic sulcus, medial to anterior clinoid process; transmits optic nerve and ophthalmic artery (Greek, sphenoid = wedge-shaped)
lesser wing of sphenoid (N2, TG7-03, TG7-57) forms posterior margin of anterior cranial fossa; articulates anteriorly with orbital plate of frontal bone (Greek, sphenoid = wedge-shaped)
greater wing of sphenoid (N2, TG7-03 TG7-57) forms medial part of floor of middle cranial fossa, part of temporal fossa laterally, and posterior part of lateral wall of orbit; articulates anteriorly with zygomatic, superiorly with frontal & parietal bone (at pterion), posteriorly with squamous & petrous temporal bone (Greek, sphenoid = wedge-shaped)
superior orbital fissure (N2, N11,N83, TG7-03, TG7-57) between lesser & greater wings of sphenoid; transmits oculomotor nerve, trochlear nerve, abducens nerve, branches of ophthalmic division of trigeminal nerve, superior ophthalmic vein, lymphatics
inferior orbital fissure (N2, N11,N83, TG7-03, TG7-57) between greater wing of sphenoid and maxilla; transmits infraorbital nerve and artery, zygomatic nerve, and venous communication between the pterygoid plexus and inferior ophthalmic vein
maxilla frontal process (N2, TG7-03, TG7-57) forms part of medial orbital wall & margin
orbital process (N2, TG7-03, TG7-57) forms floor of orbit
infraorbital groove & canal (N2, TG7-03, TG7-57) in orbital process, for infraorbital neurovascular bundle
infraorbital foramen (N2, TG7-03, TG7-57) anterior opening of infraorbital canal, for infraorbital neurovascular bundle
palatine perpendicular plate (N2, TG7-42) articulates anteriorly with maxilla; posteriorly it forms medial wall of pterygopalatine fossa
orbital process (N2) projects superiorly from perpendicular plate; forms a small part of the floor of the orbit posteriorly


orbicularis oculi (N26, TG7-30, TG7-57, TG7-58) orbital part: medial orbital margin & medial palpebral ligament; palpebral part: medial palpebral ligamentorbital part: lateral cheek skin; palpebral part: lateral palpebral raphecloses the eyelidstemporal & zygomatic branches of facial nerve (VII)activated involuntarily in the blink reflex
levator palpebrae superioris (N81,N84,N86, TG7-58, TG7-61) apex of orbit above optic canalskin and fascia of upper eyelid and superior tarsal plateelevates upper eyelidoculomotor nerve (III) and sympathetics (to superior tarsal portion)fibers inserting into superior tarsal plate are called superior tarsal muscle and are smooth muscle; lesion of the sympathetic supply causes slight ptosis (drooping eyelid) (Latin, levator = to lift + palpebrae = eyelid)
rectus, superior (N84,N85, TG7-59, TG7-62A, TG7-62B, TG7-63A) common tendinous ring at apex of orbitsclera on superior surface of eyeballelevates and adducts the eyeball; rotates superior pole of iris mediallyoculomotor nerve (III), superior divisionnone
rectus, inferior (N84, TG7-59, TG7-63A, TG7-63B) common tendinous ring at apex of orbitsclera on inferior surface of eyeballdepresses and adducts eyeball; rotates superior pole of iris laterallyoculomotor nerve (III), inferior divisionnone
rectus, medial (N83, N84,N85, TG7-59, TG7-63A, TG7-63B) common tendinous ring at apex of orbitsclera on medial surface of eyeballadducts eyeballoculomotor nerve (III) (inferior division)none
rectus, lateral (N83,N84,N85, TG7-59, TG7-61B, TG7-62A, TG7-62B, TG7-63A, TG7-63B) common tendinous ring at apex of orbitsclera on lateral surface of eyeballabducts eyeballabducens nerve (VI)none
superior oblique (N84,N85, TG7-59, TG7-61B, TG7-62A, TG7-62B, TG7-63A) apex of orbit above optic canalsclera on superior surface of eyeball, posteriorlydepresses and abducts the eyeball; rotates the superior pole of the iris mediallytrochlear nerve (IV)passes through fibrocartilagenous pulley known as trochlea
inferior oblique (N84,TG7-59 TG7-63B) floor of orbit lateral to lacrimal groovesclera on inferior surface of eyeball, beneath the lateral rectus m.elevates and abducts eyeball; rotates superior pole of iris laterallyoculomotor nerve (III), inferior divisionnone
pupillae, sphincter (N87, TG7-64) encircles irisencircles irisconstricts pupilparasympathetic fibers of oculomotor nerve (III), synapsing in ciliary ganglionnone
ciliary (N87, TG7-64) meridional fibers: scleral spur; circular fibers: encircle root of irismeridional fibers: ciliary process; circular fibers: encircle root of irisrelaxes suspensory ligament of lens for accommodation (near vision)parasympathetic fibers in oculomotor nerve (III), synapsing in ciliary ganglionnone
pupillae, dilator (N87, TG7-58, TG7-64) outer margin of irisinner margin of irisdilates pupilsympathetic fibers via short ciliary nerves, synapsing in superior cervical sympathetic ganglionnone


trochlear (N83,N86,N121, TG7-61, TG7-80) trochlear nucleus of midbrainsuperior oblique (GSE)also known as: CN IV, 4th cranial nerve; passes through superior orbital fissure; smallest cranial nerve, only cranial nerve to arise from dorsum of brainstem (Latin, trochlea = a pulley)
ophthalmic (N45, N86,N122, TG7-61, TG7-82A, TG7-82B, TG7-82C) trigeminal ganglionmeningeal br., lacrimal, frontal, nasociliaryskin of forehead, upper eyelid & nose, upper nasal cavity & frontal, ethmoid & sphenoid sinuses (GSA)also known as: V1, ophthalmic division of trigeminal; passes through superior orbital fissure; lacrimal n. receives postgang. parasymp. to lacrimal gland from zygomaticotemporal br. of zygomatic n.
lacrimal (N45,N86, N122, TG7-61, TG7-82A, TG7-82B, TG7-82C) ophthalmic division of trigeminal (V1)carries secretomotor (postganglionic parasympathetic) to lacrimal gland from zygomaticotemporal br. of maxillary n. (synapse occurs in pterygopalatine ganglion)skin of upper eye lid laterally & associated conjunctiva (Latin, lacrima = a tear)
frontal (N45,N86, N122, TG7-61, TG7-82A) ophthalmic division of trigeminalsupraorbital, supratrochlearskin of forehead & medial part of upper eyelid, frontal sinusthe most superior content of the orbit
supraorbital (N45, N86, TG7-61, TG7-82A) frontalmedial & lateral brs. skin of forehead, frontal sinus
supratrochlear (N45,N86, TG7-61, TG7-82A) frontalskin of forehead medially & upper eyelid medially & associated conjunctiva (Latin, trochlea = a pulley)
infratrochlear (N45, N86, TG7-63, TG7-82A) nasociliary br. of V1skin & conjunctiva of eyelids medially, skin of nose laterally (Latin, trochlea = a pulley)
nasociliary (N45,N86,N122, TG7-63, TG7-82A) ophthalmic division of trigeminal communicating br. to ciliary gang., long ciliary, ant. & post. ethmoidal, infratrochlear eyeball, skin of nose & eyelids medially & associated conjunctiva, upper nasal cavity, ethmoid & sphenoid sinuses
ciliary, long (N45, N122, TG7-62, TG7-82A) nasociliaryeyeball (GSA)these nerves bypass the ciliary ganglion
ethmoidal, anterior (N45, TG7-62, TG7-63, TG7-82A) nasociliaryinternal & external nasal brs.mucous lining of anterior ethmoid air cells, upper anterior part of nasal cavity, skin of nosepasses from orbit into anterior ethmoidal foramen, anteriorly lying on cribriform plate, through ethmoid fissure into nasal cavity (Greek, ethmoid = sieve-like)
ethmoidal, posterior (N45, TG7-62, TG7-63) nasociliarymucous lining of posterior ethmoid air cells, sphenoid sinuspasses from orbit through posterior ethmoid foramen (Greek, ethmoid = sieve-like)
abducens (N83,N86,N121, TG7-63, TG7-86) pons: abducens nucleusGSE: lateral rectus m.also known as: CN VI, 6th cranial nerve; passes through the superior orbital fissure (Latin, abducens = to draw away)
oculomotor (N83, N86,N121, TG7-79C, TG7-79D) GSE: oculomotor nuclei of midbrain; GVE: accessory (Edinger-Westphal) nucleus (preganglionic parasympathetic)superior br., inferior br.superior br.: levator palpebrae superioris, superior rectus; inferior br: medial rectus, inferior rectus, inferior oblique; ciliary muscle & sphincter pupillae (GVE preganglionic parasympathetic to ciliary ganglion via parasympathetic root, postganglionic parasympathetic via short ciliary nn.)also known as: CN III, 3rd cranial nerve; passes through superior orbital fissure
nerve to inferior oblique (N83, N86, N121, TG7-79C, TG7-79D) inf. br. of oculomotorparasympathetic root of ciliary gang.sphincter pupillae & ciliary m. (parasymp.), inf. obliqueparasymp. root carries GVE pregang. parasymp. to ciliary gang., short ciliary ns. carry postgang. parasymp. into eyeball
ganglion, ciliary (N45, N122, TG7-79D, TG7-82A) preganglionic parasympathetic via inferior division of oculomotor n. (III)postganglionic parasympathetic via short ciliary nn.sphincter pupillae & ciliary mm.a parasympathetic ganglion; it does NOT contain cell bodies of sensory neurons; located on lateral side of optic n. near apex of orbit
ciliary, short (N45, N122, TG7-79D, TG7-82A) ciliary ganglion: sensory root - from nasociliary n.(V1); sympathetic root - from internal carotid plexus; parasympathetic root - from oculomotor n. (III)multiple short ciliary ns. leave ciliary ganglion anteriorlysphincter pupillae & ciliary mm. (parasympathetic), dilator pupillae (sympathetic)eyeballmixed nerves which contain sensory and 2 types of motor nerve fibers; postganglionic parasympathetic neurons whose axons are located in these nerves have their cell bodies in the ciliary ganglion
optic (N83, N86,N87,N120, TG7-59, TG7-60, TG7-62, TG7-64, TG7-78) ganglion layer of retina to forebrainvision (SSA)also known as: CN II, 2nd cranial nerve; course of optic nerve - through optic canal to optic chiasma, then optic tract to lateral geniculate body & optic radiation
zygomatic (N45, N122, TG7-82, TG7-83A, TG7-83C) maxillary division of trigeminal (V2)zygomaticofacial & zygomaticotemporalsecretomotor (postgang. parasymp.) to lacrimal gland (via fibers from pterygopalatine gang. that reach lacrimal n. by communicating br. of zygomaticotemporal)skin of face lateral & superior to orbitcarries postganglionic parasympathetic axons to the lacrimal gland that have synapsed in the pterygopalatine ganglion
sympathetic chain ganglia, cervical (N86, N121, TG7-95, TG7-96) preganglionic sympathetic via ascending fibers from T1-T5postganglionic sympathetic via gray rami communicans to cervical spinal nn.; internal & external carotid nn.; cervical cardiac brs.dilator pupillae m.; vascular smooth muscle; arrector pili muscles & sweat glands of head and neck; heart & lungspain from visceralocated parallel & lateral to vertebral bodies in neck; there are no white rami communicans at cervical levels


ophthalmic (N85,N87, TG7-62, TG7-72) internal carotidcentral retinal, lacrimal, muscular brs., ant. & post. ethmoid, medial palpebral, supraorbital, supratrochlear, dorsal nasaloptic nerve & retina, extraocular muscles, eyelids, forehead, ethmoid air cells & lateral nasal wall, dorsum of noseprovides the only artery to the retina (central retinal a.)
central, of retina (N85, N87, TG7-64) ophthalmicsup. & inf. nasal, sup. & inf. temporal brs.optic nerve and retinaonly source of blood for the retina; viewed in funduscopic exam
ethmoidal, anterior (N85, TG7-62) ophthalmicanterior meningeal a., ant. septal br., ant. lat. nasal br.ethmoid & frontal sinuses, dura anteriorly, nasal mucosaleaves orbit through anterior ethmoid foramen, then runs forward on cribriform plate
ethmoidal, posterior (N85, TG7-62) ophthalmicpost. ethmoid sinuses (Greek, ethmoid = sieve-like)
lacrimal (N85, TG7-62) ophthalmiclateral palpebrallacrimal gland, eyelids laterally(Latin, lacrima = a tear
supraorbital (N85, TG7-62) ophthalmicmuscles, skin & fascia of forehead
supratrochlear (N85, TG7-62) ophthalmicmuscles, skin & fascia of forehead medially(Latin, trochlea = a pulley)
middle meningeal (N69, TG7-35)maxillaryfrontal br., parietal br., petrous br., superior tympanicmost of the dura mater (approx. 80%), cranial vault bonespasses through foramen spinosum; may be torn by fracture at pterion
carotid, internal (N85, TG7-62, TG7-72) common carotidnone in the neck; in the head: ophthalmic, post. communicating, ant. & middle cerebral (terminal brs.)brain, eye, foreheadprimary blood supply to the brain; anastomoses with vertebral aa.


VeinTributariesDrains IntoRegion DrainedNotes
angular (N70, TG7-73) union of supraorbital & supratrochlearcontinues as facial vein at inferior margin of the orbitforehead, nose, upper eyelidvalveless; connects with superior & inferior ophthalmic vv.
ophthalmic, inferior (TG7-73) superior ophthalmiclower portion of orbitconnects with pterygoid plexus through inferior orbital fissure
ophthalmic, superior (N70,N85, TG7-61, TG7-73) nasofrontal, anterior & posterior ethmoid, ciliary vv., central retinal, lacrimal, inferior ophthalmiccavernous sinuseyeball, superior portion of orbit, ethmoid sinuses, foreheadconnects with angular v.
cavernous sinus (TG7-73) superior ophthalmic v., middle cerebral vv., sphenoparietal sinussuperior & inferior petrosal sinusesorbit, brainlies within dura mater beside body of sphenoid bone


Organ Location/Description
lacrimal gland (N81,N82, TG7-58A, TG7-58B) tear gland; located in orbit beneath orbital plate of frontal bone; innervated by postganglionic parasympathetic fibers from pterygopalatine ganglion via communicating br. to lacrimal n. from zygomaticotemporal br. of zygomatic n. (Latin, lacrima = a tear)
lacrimal papillae (N81,N82, TG7-58A, TG7-58B) projections located on edge of upper & lower eyelids medially, containing lacrimal puncta (Latin, lacrima = a tear; papillae = a pimple/nipple)
lacrimal puncta (N81,N82, TG7-58A, TG7-58B) two openings, located on edge of upper & lower eyelids medially, draining tears into lacrimal canaliculi (Latin, lacrima = a tear)
lacrimal sac (N81,N82, TG7-58B) located at medial wall of orbit; receives lacrimal canaliculi; drains to nasolacrimal duct (Latin, lacrima = a tear)

Clinical Terms

Term Definition
ptosis paralytic drooping of the upper eyelid usually described in reference to damage of the sympathetic nerves found in the cervical sympathetic trunk or internal carotid nerves that ultimately supply the superior tarsal muscle, but may also involve the levator palpebrae superioris muscle innervated by the oculomotor nerve
orbital cellulitis inflammation or infection of the soft tissues of the orbit such as the periocular fat and connective tissue
cavernous sinus thrombosis/thrombophlebitis a blood clot within the cavernous sinus (a sinus cavity which is bordered by the sphenoid bone and the temporal bone). This condition produces a syndrome called cavernous sinus syndrome-characterized by edema of the eyelids and conjunctivae and paralysis of the third, fourth and sixth cranial nerves. Thrombophlebitis is the inflammation of the thrombosed vein
myopia that error of refraction in which rays of light entering the eye parallel to the optic axis are brought to a focus in front of the retina, as a result of the eyeball being too long from front to back (axial myopia) or of an increased strength in refractive power of the media of the eye (index myopia). Also called nearsightedness, because the near point is less distant than it is in emmetropia with an equal amplitude of accommodation
presbyopia a defect of vision consequent upon advancing age. It is due to rigidity of the crystalline lens, which produce difficulty of accommodation and recession of the near point of vision, so that objects very near the eyes can not be seen distinctly without the use of convex glasses. Called also presbytia
diplopia (double vision) the perception of two images of a single object
blowout fracture fracture of the orbital floor due to increased orbital pressure from trauma. Orbital contents may herniate into the maxillary sinus and the inferior oblique and rectus muscles be entrapped, causing diplopia
sty an inflamed swelling or boil on the edge of the eyelid
conjunctivitis inflammation of the conjunctiva, generally consisting of conjunctival hyperemia associated with a discharge
pink eye acute epidemic conjunctivitis (generally viral in nature)
papilledema edema of the optic disk (papilla), most commonly due to increased intracranial pressure, malignant hypertension or thrombosis of the central retinal vein
hyperopia that error of refraction in which rays of light entering the eye parallel to the optic axis are brought to a focus behind the retina, as a result of the eyeball being too short from front to back. This is referred to as farsightedness, as it is easier to see distant objects than near ones.

The material presented in these tables is contained in the book:
MedCharts Anatomy by Thomas R. Gest & Jaye Schlesinger
Published by ILOC, Inc., New York
Copyright 1995, unauthorized use prohibited.
The excellent editorial assistance of
Dr. Pat Tank, UAMS
is gratefully acknowledged.