The ophthalmic artery (latin: arteria ophthalmica) is a branch of the internal carotid artery that supplies all structures in the orbit, also structures of the nose, face and meninges.
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, dividing at the medial end of the upper eyelid into terminal branches - supratrochlear artery and dorsal nasal branches.
On its course the ophthalmic artery gives off several side branches:
- 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, skin and muscles of the forehead, the middle cerebral fossa and the outer surface of the nose.