Lacrimal Nerve

Written by Dieudonne Nabayo

Last updated June 25, 2024 • 6 Revisions

The lacrimal nerve is a nerve of the orbital area. It is a branch of the ophthalmic nerve.

It supplies sensation to the conjunctiva and upper eyelid. It also carries parasympathetic fibres to the lacrimal gland.

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The lacrimal nerve arises from the ophthalmic nerve immediately proximal to the superior orbital fissure.

It passes through the superior orbital fissure to enter the orbit. The nerve then travels anteriorly along the lateral orbital wall, along the superior border of the lateral rectus muscle.

The lacrimal nerve penetrates the lacrimal gland and orbital septum, terminating as sensory nerves that supply the skin and conjunctiva of the lateral upper eyelid.

Fig 1
Couse of the lacrimal nerve within the orbit.

Sensory Supply

The lacrimal nerve supplies the skin and conjunctiva of the lateral upper eyelid.

Parasympathetic Supply

The lacrimal nerve carries parasympathetic fibres from the zygomaticotemporal nerve (a branch of the maxillary nerve) to the lacrimal gland.

Activation of these fibres stimulates secretory activity within the lacrimal gland.

Fig 2
The lacrimal gland is supplied by the lacrimal nerve.