Eye movements

Eye movements are a complex set of movements of the globe that are performed by the extraocular muscles. Although each of the muscles have different primary actions on the eye, they rarely act alone and most eye movements involve a combination of synergistic and antagonistic muscles 1.

Abduction and adduction are the movement of the eye around its vertical axis away from and towards the nose respectively.

Elevation and depression are the movement of the eye around its horizontal axis to look up and down respectively. The muscles primarily involved vary depending on the position of the eyes in the axial plane.

Internal and external rotation are the movement of the eye around its anteroposterior axis, to move the top of the eye towards and away from the nose respectively. The muscles primarily involved vary depending on the position of the eyes in the axial plane.

  • internal rotation (or intorsion)
  • external rotation (or extorsion)
Anatomy: Head and neck

Anatomy: Head and neck

Article information

rID: 10421
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Globe movements
  • Ocular movements

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Cases and figures

  • Abduction
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  • Adduction
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  • Depression
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  • Elevation
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  • External rotation
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  • Internal rotation
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  • Extra-ocular muscles (illustration)
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  • Extra-ocular muscles (illustration)
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  • Extra-ocular muscles (illustration)
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  • Eye and extraocular muscles (illustrations)
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