Lateral rectus muscle
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- innervation: abducens nerve (CN VI)
- origin: annulus of Zinn (tendinous ring)
- insertion: globe (anterior, lateral surface)
- primary function: one of three ocular abductors
Lateral rectus, along with the other rectus muscles, arises from the annulus of Zinn, the common tendinous ring at the apex of the orbit that surrounds the optic canal 1.
Lateral rectus is unique among the extraocular muscles in being supplied by the abducens nerve.
The action of the lateral rectus is to abduct the eye (see figure 1) 1. Unlike most of the other extraocular muscles, it has no significant contribution to movement in the other ocular axes.
Rectus comes from the Latin rectos, meaning straight 1.
oculomotor nerve palsy
- as the lateral rectus and superior oblique muscles are the only extraocular muscles not supplied by the oculomotor nerve, the unopposed force generated by these muscles results in depression and abduction of the affected eye
abducens nerve palsy
- as the lateral rectus is the primary ocular abductor, abducens nerve palsy results in adduction of the affected eye, due to unopposed effect primarily of the medial rectus muscle
- because of its long subarachnoid course and location in the Dorello canal, abducens nerve palsy can be an early sign of increased intracranial pressure
- 1. Moore KL, Agur AMR, Dalley AF. Clinically Oriented Anatomy. (2013) ISBN: 9781451119459
- 2. Netter FH. Atlas of Human Anatomy. (2018) ISBN: 9780323393225
- 3. Imaging of the Head and Neck. Thieme. (2012) ISBN:3131505311. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
- 4. Gray's basic anatomy. Churchill Livingstone. ISBN:1455710784. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon