Persistent dorsal ophthalmic artery

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 8 Jun 2022

The persistent dorsal ophthalmic artery is a rare anatomical variant of the ophthalmic artery. Instead of arising from the supraclinoid (C6) segment of the internal carotid artery, as is normally the case, the persistent dorsal ophthalmic artery arises from the lateral aspect of the cavernous (C4) segment (at or near the inferolateral trunk) and passes into the orbit via the superior orbital fissure (instead of the optic canal) 1,3 or occasionally a duplicated optic canal 2


The term persistent dorsal ophthalmic artery may, in fact, be a misnomer as it may represent the persistence of the primitive maxillary artery, which is the only supply of the orbit from the internal carotid artery in the embryo 2. According to some authors, what is commonly referred to as the persistent dorsal ophthalmic artery should actually be known as the persistence of the lateral branch of the primitive maxillary artery 2.

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Cases and figures

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