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Human Body 101: Muscle Facts #14

There are six muscles involved in the control of the eyeball itself. They can be divided into two groups; the four recti muscles, and the two oblique muscles.

Recti Muscles There are four recti muscles; superior rectus, inferior rectus, medial rectus and lateral rectus.

These muscles characteristically originate from the common tendinous ring. This is a ring of fibrous tissue, which surrounds the optic canal at the back of the orbit. From their origin, the muscles pass anteriorly to attach to the sclera of the eyeball.

The name recti is derived from the latin for ‘straight’ – this represents the fact that the recti muscles have a direct path from origin to attachment. This is in contrast with the oblique eye muscles, which have an angular approach to the eyeball.

Oblique Muscles

There are two oblique muscles – the superior and inferior obliques. Unlike the recti group of muscles, they do not originate from the common tendinous ring.

From their origin, the oblique muscles take an angular approach to the eyeball (in contrast to the straight approach of the recti muscles). They attach to the posterior surface of the sclera.

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