Author: Jana Vasković•Reviewer: Dimitrios Mytilinaios MD, PhDLast reviewed: September 08, 2021Reading time: 13 minutes


By definition, the orbit (bony orbit or orbital cavity) is a skeletal cavity comprised of salso bones positioned within the skull. The cavity surrounds and provides mechanical defense for the eye and also soft tworry frameworks concerned it.

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The bones that make up the orbit contain a number of foramina and also fissures via which vital neurovascular frameworks (such as the optic nerve (CN II)) pass through on their means from the brain to the eye and also challenge and vice versa.

Key facts about bones of the orlittle
Bones Maxilla, Frontal bone, Zygomatic bone, Ethmoid bone, Lacrimal bone, Sphenoid bone, and also Palatine bone Mnemonic: Many kind of Friendly Zebras Enjoy Lazy Summer Picnic
Base and also apex Apex: optic foramales Orbital margin (rim):- supra-orbital margin: frontal bone - medial margin: frontal procedure of the maxilla- infra-orbital margin: zygomatic process of the maxilla and also the zygomatic bone- lateral margin: zygomatic process of the frontal bone and the zygomatic bone and also its frontal process
Walls Roof (superior): orbital component of the frontal bone, lesser wing of the sphenoid bone Medial: orbital plate of the ethmoid bone, lacrimal bone, frontal procedure of the maxilla, lesser wing of the sphenoid bone Floor (inferior): orbital surconfront of the maxilla, zygomatic bone, palatine bone Lateral: zygomatic bone, sphenoid bone
Articulations (sutures) Frontomaxillary, zygomaticomaxillary, frontozygomatic (or zygomaticofrontal), fronto-ethmoidal, sphenofrontal (or frontosphenoidal), sphenozygomatic, frontolacrimal, spheno-ethmoidal, lacrimomaxillary
Landmarks and also openings Optic foraguys (canal), lacrimal fossa, lacrimal groove, anterior and posterior ethmoidal foramina, trochlea, exceptional and inferior orbital fissures
Content of the orlittle bit Eyeballs, orbital fascia, orbital fat, extraocular muscles, neurovasculature, lacrimal apparatus
Clinical relationships Orbital fractures, inflammatory and also neoplastic procedures

This post will talk about the bones of the orlittle bit, their articulations, and also the the majority of important anatomical landmarks. Finally, a couple of words about the a lot of common pathological conditions concerned the orlittle bit will be disputed.


The orlittle shows up as a quadrangular pyramidal cavern in the top challenge. It is consisted of of 4 facial bones and also three cranial bones: maxilla, zygomatic bone, lacrimal bone, palatine bone, frontal bone, ethmoid bone, and also sphenoid bone.

The base of this pyramid opens anteriorly onto the challenge, while the apex is pointed posteromedially towards the center of the skull. The wall surfaces that finish this pyramid are the medial, lateral, roof (superior), and also floor (inferior) walls. The bones of the orbit are lined with periosteum referred to as periorbita.

Base and apex


The apex of the orlittle is the optic foramen (canal), bound medially by the body of the sphenoid bone and laterally by the lesser wing of the sphenoid bone. It is medial to the superior orbital fiscertain. The optic foramales offers passage for the optic nerve (CN II) and ophthalmic artery to departure the skull.

The base of the orlittle bit is dubbed the orbital margin or orbital rim. Its function is to safeguard the contents of the orlittle bit and also to administer an attachment site for the orbital septum. The margin has a quadrangular shape, via the complying with borders:

Supra-orbital margin – the frontal bone  Medial margin – the frontal process of the maxilla Infra-orbital margin – the zygomatic process of the maxilla, and the zygomatic bone Lateral margin – the zygomatic procedure of the frontal bone, the zygomatic bone, and also the frontal procedure of the zygomatic bone


The roof, or superior wall, of the orlittle bit separates the orbit from the anterior cranial fossa. The biggest contributor of the roof is the orbital part of the frontal bone, while the small posterior percent is completed by the lesser wing of the sphenoid bone. The only necessary landmark of this wall is the anterolaterally located depression called the lacrimal fossa, intended for hosting the orbital component of the lacrimal gland also.


Medial wall

The medial wall is developed out of 4 bones: the maxilla, lacrimal bone, ethmoid bone, and also sphenoid bone. A helpful mnemonic to remember them is, “My Little Eye Sits in the orlittle bit.” 


The majority of the wall is made out of the orbital plate of the ethmoid bone, which is located posterosuperiorly on the wall. This is the part of the ethmoid bone that has ethmoidal cells and is very thin. Anterior to the ethmoid bone is the lacrimal bone, and also anterior to the lacrimal bone is the frontal process of the maxilla. The lacrimal bone and the frontal process of the maxilla build the lacrimal groove which has the lacrimal sac. Posterior to the ethmoid bone, the medial wall is completed by a small percent of the lesser wing of the sphenoid bone that creates the medial component of the optic foraguys (canal).

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Besides the lacrimal groove, necessary landmarks are the anterior and posterior ethmoidal foramina and the trochlea. The ethmoidal foramina are discovered at the junction in between the roof and the medial wall as a component of the fronto-ethmoidal suture, and serve as the passageways for the anterior and posterior ethmoidal nerves and vessels. The trochlea is the only cartilage discovered in the orlittle bit. It is a pulley-favor framework in the orbit through which the tendon of the superior oblique muscle passes. Fun fact: the word trochlea comes from the Greek word for pulley.


The floor, or inferior wall, separates the orbit and also the maxillary sinus. It is formed by 3 bones: maxilla, zygomatic bone, and palatine bone. The orbital surface of the maxilla makes up most of it while small parts of the zygomatic and palatine bones make up the rest.

The many necessary landnote of the floor is the inferior orbital fissure. It separates the floor from the lateral wall, and provides passage for several neurovascular structures. It starts posteriorly and also then courses alengthy the lateral border of the floor. The component of the fissure that goes via the floor of the orlittle is anteriorly bordered by the zygomatic bone, posteriorly by the orbital procedure of the palatine bone, and medially by the maxilla. 

Lateral wall

This wall is developed by the zygomatic bone anteriorly and the better wing of the sphenoid bone posteriorly. It is the thickest and also strongest wevery one of the orbit, which posteriorly separates the orlittle from the middle cranial and tempdental fossae.

The most significant landmark of the lateral wall is the premium orbital fissure, found in between the higher and lesser wing of the sphenoid bone. The better wing of the sphenoid bone also gives the lateral border of the inferior orbital fiscertain.

Check out this bones of the orlittle research unit to understand their anatomy!


Articulations of the orlittle are not often questioned. Rather than purely memorizing their names, let’s explain the logic right here. As we understand, the articulations of the bones of the skull are immobile fibrous joints referred to as sutures.

Sutures are named after the bones that they connect, so let’s look at the orlittle and name them one by one, simply choose they do in anatomical textpublications. All bones of the orlittle articulate among themselves, other than for the sphenoid bone and also maxilla. There is no suture between them, as they are separated by the inferior orbital fiscertain. Note that the first three of the detailed sutures are many typically defined within the textbooks.

Articulations of the orlittle bit
Frontomaxillary suture Frontal bone → frontal process of the maxilla
Zygomaticomaxillary suture Zygomatic bone → maxilla
Frontozygomatic (zygomaticofrontal) suture Frontal bone → zygomatic bone
Fronto-ethmoidal suture Frontal bone → ethmoid bone
Sphenofrontal (frontosphenoidal) suture Sphenoid bone → frontal bone
Sphenozygomatic suture Greater wing of the sphenoid bone → zygomatic bone
Frontolacrimal suture Frontal bone → lacrimal bone
Spheno-ethmoidal suture Lesser wing of the sphenoid bone → ethmoid bone
Lacrimomaxillary suture Lacrimal bone → maxilla

Landmarks and openings 

For the sake of effective memorizing, let’s list all the landmarks and also opening in one place:

Optic foramen (canal) – situated at the apex, the opening to the optic foramen is bordered by the body of the sphenoid bone and the lesser wing of the sphenoid bone. It transmits the optic nerve and ophthalmic artery. Lacrimal fossa – located anterolaterally on the orbital roof and also hosts the lacrimal gland. Lacrimal groove – put on the medial orbital wall in between the lacrimal bone and maxilla. It has the lacrimal sac. Anterior ethmoidal foraguys – discovered at the junction in between the exceptional and medial orbital walls. It transmits the anterior ethmoidal vein, artery, and nerve. Posterior ethmoidal foramen – likewise discovered at the junction between the superior and medial orbital walls. It transmits the posterior ethmoidal vein, artery, and also nerve. Trochlea – a pulley-prefer structure at the orbital roof via which the tendon of the premium oblique muscle passes. It is the only cartilage discovered in the orlittle bit.

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Components of the orbit

Most of the room in the orbital cavity is lived in by the eyeballs and also orbital fascia; the rest of it is filled with orbital fat which stabilizes the eye and extraocular muscles. Extraocular muscles insert right into the eyesphere and allow motions of the eye and also the superior eyelid. Tright here are six: exceptional, inferior, medial, and also lateral rectus muscles and the exceptional and inferior oblique muscles.The rest of the soft tproblem content that fills the orlittle are the neurovascular frameworks that interact via the contents of the orlittle via foramina and are noted above. The lacrimal apparatus is additionally uncovered within the orlittle bit.

Clinical relations


The most widespread clinical problems concerned the orbit are fractures. Any of the wall surfaces have the right to be influenced, however many frequently it’s the floor, complied with by the medial wall (because of the fragility of thin ethmoidal cells). When the orbital floor is influenced, the inferior rectus muscle is frequently dragged right into the fracture line which outcomes in an incapability to relocate the eyeround upwards in the affected eye (known as upward gaze diplopia).

On the various other hand also, the ethmoid bone and also its labyrinth are usually influenced in medial wall fractures. This typically results via developing continuity (craniosinus fistula) in between the ethmoid paranasal sinoffers and the orbit and is clearly visible in radiographs. The craniosinus fistula enables leakage of the cerebrospinal liquid from the cranium through the nose which leads to a drop in intracranial push (hypotension) and manifests as headache, nausea, vomiting, and also obstacle concentrating. In enhancement to this, bone pieces have the right to physically damages the eye and also reason blindness and also nasal deformity.

Inflammatory and neoplastic processes

When it involves the contents of the orlittle bit, any kind of inflammatory processes such as conjunctivitis, or also neoplastic processes, choose chorodial melanoma, that affect the eye or its accessory frameworks show a tendency to spread right into the cranium via orbital openings as they carry out a straight communication between the orlittle and also cranial fossae. Depending on the nature of the process, it may result either via inflammation of the meninges (meningitis), or with development of metastatic masses (cancer) within the brain tproblem. 

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