Inferior ophthalmic vein

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 8 Dec 2021

The inferior ophthalmic vein (IOV) is a vein of the inferior orbit and is smaller than the more well-known superior ophthalmic vein (SOV).

Gross anatomy


The vein forms from a plexus of several veins within the anteroinferior orbit along the infraorbital margin from facial vein tributaries.


The vein drains parts of the orbit such as the lower eyelid, globe and extra-ocular muscles.


The infraorbital vein often communicates with the inferior ophthalmic vein. It is formed on the floor of the orbit, courses with the infraorbital nerve and exits via the inferior orbital fissure, draining into the pterygoid venous plexus. 

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