The ciliary ganglion is located approximately 1 cm in front of the annulus of Zinn, on the lateral side of the ophthalmic artery, between the optic nerve and the lateral rectus muscle (Fig 1-10). It receives 3 roots:
Branches of the Ciliary Ganglion
Only the parasympathetic fibers synapse in the ciliary ganglion. The sympathetic fibers are postganglionic from the superior cervical ganglion and pass through it without synapsing. Sensory fibers from cell bodies in the trigeminal ganglion carry sensation from the eye, orbit, and face. Together, the nonsynapsing sympathetic fibers; the sensory fibers; and the myelinated, fast-conducting postganglionic parasympathetic fibers form the short ciliary nerves (see also Chapter 3, Fig 3-18).
Figure 1-10 Ciliary ganglion. Schematic of the lateral orbit with ciliary ganglion. Note the 3 roots: (1) sensory root, which carries sensation from the globe to the trigeminal ganglion via the nasociliary nerve; (2) sympathetic root carrying postganglionic sympathetic fibers from the superior cervical ganglion and carotid plexus; (3) motor root carrying preganglionic parasympathetic fibers from the inferior division of the oculomotor nerve.
(Modified with permission from Levin LA, Nilsson SFE, Ver Hoeve J, Wu SM. Adler’s Physiology of the Eye. 11th ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier/Saunders; 2011:364.)
Excerpted from BCSC 2020-2021 series: Section 2 - Fundamentals and Principles of Ophthalmology. For more information and to purchase the entire series, please visit https://www.aao.org/bcsc.