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These diagrams show the muscles of the eye socket, Top: frontal view; Bottom: lateral view. The muscles that control the movement and position of the eyeball are called the extra-ocular muscles because they are on the outside of the eyeball. There are other muscles inside the eyeball, but they do not control the position of the eyeball. Notice that the muscle that bulges the eyeball is not shown - because there is no such muscle. The appearance of a bulged eyeball typically comes from the extreme retraction if the eyelids. There may be some organic conditions that cause the eyeball actually to move forward in its socket, but normally, it seems likely that it does not do so. Also diagrammed in the lower image is the levator of the upper eyelid. The functions of these muscles are:

  • Elevator of the eyelid (Levator of the upper eyelid) - raises the upper eyelid
  • Superior oblique - rolls the eyeball
  • Superior rectus - turns the front (cornea) upwards
  • External rectus - turns the front (cornea) outwards
  • Internal rectus - turns the front (cornea) inwards
  • Inferior oblique - rolls the eyeball
  • Inferior rectus - turns the front (cornea) downwards

The actions of the oblique and recti muscles are highly coordinated in order to produce the precision in gaze direction. The action of the levator of the upper eyelid is the basis of AU 5 in FACS.

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