Blood Supply

The blood supply of the globe is derived from three sources: the central retinal artery, the anterior ciliary arteries and the posterior ciliary arteries. All these are derived from the ophthalmic artery, which is a branch of the internal carotid. The central retinal artery runs in the optic nerve to reach the interior of the eye and its branches spread out over the inner surface of the retina supplying its inner half. The anterior ciliary arteries emerge from the insertion of the recti muscles and perforate the globe near the iris root to join an arterial circle in the ciliary body. The posterior ciliary arteries are the fine branches of the ophthalmic artery, which penetrate the posterior pole of the eye. Some of these supply the choroid and two or more larger vessels run anteriorly to reach the arterial circle in the ciliary body. The larger vessels are known as the long posterior ciliary arteries, and those supplying the choroid are known as the short posterior ciliary arteries. The branches of the central retinal artery are accompanied by an equivalent vein, but the choroid, ciliary body and iris are drained by approximately four vortex veins. These leave the posterior four quadrants of the globe and are familiar landmarks for the retina surgeon (Figure 2.5).

Figure 2.5. Blood supply of the eye.03

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