Muscles of the Eye-lid: Actions and Innervations

Describe the muscles of eye lid, their actions and innervations.

Muscles of eyelid: Their Actions and Innervations
            The muscles of the eyelids are:

Levatorpalpebræsuperioris (LPS)

Orbicularis oculi


The Levator palpebrae superioris is thin, flat, and triangular in shape. It arises from the under surface of the small wing of the sphenoid, above and in front of the optic foramen, from which it is separated by the origin of the Rectus superior.

o             Nerve: supplied by the oculomotor nerve
o             Action: it raises the upper eyelid, on contraction.

The Orbicularis oculi occupies the eyelids or palpebrae, surrounds the circumference of the orbit, and spreads over the temple, and downward on the cheek. It has the following portions:

i)                The palpebral portion of the muscle is thin and pale; it arises from the bifurcation of the medial palpebral ligament.

ii)               The orbital portion is thicker and of a reddish color; its fibers form a complete ellipse without interruption at the lateral palpebral commissure.

iii)             The lacrimal part (Tensor tarsi) is a small, thin muscle, about 6 mm. in breadth and 12 mm. in length, situated behind the medial palpebral ligament and lacrimal sac.

The Corrugator supercilii is a small, narrow, pyramidal muscle, placed at the medial end of the eyebrow, beneath the Frontalis and Orbicularis oculi. It arises from the medial end of the superciliary arch.

            Nerves: The Orbicularis oculi and Corrugator are supplied by the facial nerve.


The Orbicularis oculi is the sphincter muscle of the eyelids. The Levator palpebrae superioris is the direct antagonist of this muscle.
The Corrugator draws the eyebrow downward and medialward, producing the vertical wrinkles of the forehead. It is the “frowning” muscle, and may be regarded as the principal muscle in the expression of suffering.
Following resources are used while preparing this post (readers are strongly recommended to go through them for more details):
Gray's Anatomy
K. L. Moore's Clinically Oriented Anatomy
R. Snell's Clinical Anatomy