Origin: Annulus of Zinn at the orbital apex, medial to optic canal

Insertion: Outer posterior quadrant of the eyeball

Artery: Lateral muscular branch of theophthalmic artery

Nerve: Trochlear nerve

Action: Primary: intorsion. secondary:abduct (laterally rotate) and depress theeyeball


The Obliquus oculi superior (superior oblique) is a fusiform muscle, placed at the upper and medial side of the orbit. It arises immediately above the margin of the optic foramen, above and medial to the origin of the Rectus superior, and, passing forward, ends in a rounded tendon, which plays in a fibrocartilaginous ring or pulley attached to the trochlear fovea of the frontal bone. The contiguous surfaces of the tendon and ring are lined by a delicate mucous sheath, and enclosed in a thin fibrous investment. The tendon is reflected backward, lateralward, and downward beneath the Rectus superior to the lateral part of the bulb of the eye, and is inserted into the sclera, behind the equator of the eyeball, the insertion of the muscle lying between the Rectus superior and Rectus lateralis.

The four Recti arise from a fibrous ring (annulus tendineus communis) which surrounds the upper, medial, and lower margins of the optic foramen and encircles the optic nerve. The ring is completed by a tendinous bridge prolonged over the lower and medial part of the superior orbital fissure and attached to a tubercle on the margin of the great wing of the sphenoid, bounding the fissure. Two specialized parts of this fibrous ring may be made out: a lower, the ligament or tendon of Zinn, which gives origin to the Rectus inferior, part of the Rectus internus, and the lower head of origin of the Rectus lateralis; and an upper, which gives origin to the Rectus superior, the rest of the Rectus medialis, and the upper head of the Rectus lateralis. This upper band is sometimes termed the superior tendon of Lockwood. Each muscle passes forward in the position implied by its name, to be inserted by a tendinous expansion into the sclera, about 6 mm. from the margin of the cornea. Between the two heads of the Rectus lateralis is a narrow interval, through which pass the two divisions of the oculomotor nerve, the nasociliary nerve, the abducent nerve, and the ophthalmic vein. Although these muscles present a common origin and are inserted in a similar manner into the sclera, there are certain differences to be observed in them as regards their length and breadth. The Rectus medialis is the broadest, the Rectus lateralis the longest, and the Rectus superior the thinnest and narrowest.


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