Ophthalmic artery

  • The ophthalmic artery (Latin: arteria ophthalmica) is a branch of the internal carotid artery that supplies all structures in the orbit of the eye, and also structures of the nose, face, and meninges.

    Course

    The ophthalmic artery arises in the cavernous sinus, enters the orbit via the optic canal, then turns medially and continues along the medial wall of the orbit. 

    Branches

    At the medial end of the upper eyelid, the ophthalmic artery divides into terminal branches - the supratrochlear artery and dorsal nasal branches.

    On its course, the artery also gives off several side branches, including:

    • central retinal artery,
    • lacrimal artery,
    • ciliary arteries,
    • supraorbital artery,
    • anterior and posterior ethmoidal arteries,
    • meningeal branch,
    • medial palpebral arteries,
    • muscular branches.

    The ophthalmic artery with its branches supplies all structures in the orbit, as well as skin and muscles of the forehead, structures in the middle cerebral fossa, and the outer surface of the nose.