Inferior ophthalmic vein

Last revised by Dr Amy Chan on 24 Jun 2020

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

Origin

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

Course
Termination
Drainage 

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

Communication

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. 

Anatomy: Head and neck

Anatomy: Head and neck

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: orbital apex diagram
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