Origin: Sphenoid bone

Insertion: Tarsal plate, upper eyelid

Artery: Ophthalmic artery

Nerve: Oculomotor nerve

Action: Retracts - Elevates eyelid

Antagonist: Orbicularis oculi muscle

The levator palpebrae superioris is the muscle in the orbit that elevates the superior (upper) eyelid. The levator palpebrae superioris originates on the lesser wing of the sphenoid bone, just above the optic foramen. It broadens and becomes the levator aponeurosis. This portion inserts on the skin of the upper eyelid, as well as the superior tarsal plate. It is a skeletal muscle. The superior tarsal muscle, a smooth muscle, is attached to the levator palpebrae superioris, and inserts on the superior tarsal plate as well.

This muscle divides into two layers at its insertion:

  • The superficial layer of the levator palpebrae superioris ends in the connective tissue of the upperlid, just beneath the skin, after passing between the tarsus and orbicularis oculi.
  • The deep layer of the levator palpebrae superioris ends on the upper margin and anterior surface of the superior tarsus.

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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