The Lacrimal Artery (a. lacrimalis) arises close to the optic foramen, and is one of the largest branches derived from the ophthalmic: not infrequently it is given off before the artery enters the orbit. It accompanies the lacrimal nerve along the upper border of the Rectus lateralis, and supplies the lacrimal gland. Its terminal branches, escaping from the gland, are distributed to the eyelids and conjunctiva: of those supplying the eyelids, two are of considerable size and are named the lateral palpebral arteries; they run medialward in the upper and lower lids respectively and anastomose with the medial palpebral arteries, forming an arterial circle in this situation. The lacrimal artery give off one or two zygomatic branches, one of which passes through the zygomatico-temporal foramen, to reach the temporal fossa, and anastomoses with the deep temporal arteries; another appears on the cheek through the zygomatico-facial foramen, and anastomoses with the transverse facial.

A recurrent branch of the lacrymal artery (Anastomotic branch with middle meningeal artery) passes backward through the lateral part of the superior orbital fissure to the dura mater, and anastomoses (recurrent meningeal branches) with a branch of the middle meningeal artery. The lacrimal artery is sometimes derived from one of the anterior branches of the middle meningeal artery.

This definition incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy (20th U.S. edition of Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, published in 1918 – from


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