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Superior orbital fissure

Recommended video: Superior and inferior orbital fissures [20:23]
Structure and contents of the orbital fissures and the optic canal.

The superior orbital fissure is a large, triangular-shaped opening at the apex of the orbit. It is situated between the greater and lesser wings of the sphenoid bone and lies just lateral to the optic canal.

Its central part is partly covered by the common tendinous ring, from which arise the four recti extraocular muscles

The superior orbital fissure transmits several structures between the orbit and the middle cranial fossa including: ophthalmic nerve (CN V1; lacrimal, frontal and nasociliary branches), oculomotor nerve (CN III), the trochlear nerve (CN IV) and the abducent nerve (CN VI). Additionally, the superior ophthalmic vein as well as sympathetic nerve fibers pass through this foramen.

Terminology English: Superior orbital fissure

Fissura orbitalis superior
Definition Triangular-shaped gap between the the greater and lesser wings of the sphenoid bone
Function - Cranial nerves: Oculomotor (CN III), trochlear (CN IV) and abducens (CN VI)
- Ophthalmic nerve (CN V1) branches: Lacrimal, frontal, nasociliary
- Superior ophthalmic vein
- Sympathetic fibers

Learn more about the superior orbital fissure in the following study unit:

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