Lacrimal nerve

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Nerve: Lacrimal nerve
Dissection showing origins of right ocular muscles, and nerves entering by the superior orbital fissure.
Nerves of the orbit, and the ciliary ganglion. Side view.
Latin nervus lacrimalis
Gray's subject #200 887
Innervates    lacrimal gland
From ophthalmic nerve
/ Elsevier

The lacrimal nerve is the smallest of the three branches of the ophthalmic.

It sometimes receives a filament from the trochlear nerve, but this is possibly derived from the branch which goes from the ophthalmic to the trochlear nerve.

It passes forward in a separate tube of dura mater, and enters the orbit through the narrowest part of the superior orbital fissure.

In the orbit it runs along the upper border of the lateral rectus, with the lacrimal artery, and communicates with the zygomatic branch of the maxillary nerve.

It enters the lacrimal gland and gives off several filaments, which supply the gland and the conjunctiva.

Finally it pierces the orbital septum, and ends in the skin of the upper eyelid, joining with filaments of the facial nerve.

The lacrimal nerve is occasionally absent, and its place is then taken by the zygomaticotemporal branch of the maxillary nerve. Sometimes the latter branch is absent, and a continuation of the lacrimal nerve is substituted for it.


It provides innervations for the lacrimal gland, conjunctiva, and the lateral upper eyelids.

The zygomatic nerve carries sensory fibers from the skin. It also carries post-synaptic parasympathetic fibers (originating in the pterygopalatine ganglion) to the lacrimal nerve via a communication. These fibers will eventually provide innervation to the lacrimal gland.

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This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.