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Inferior Tarsal Muscle
Eye & Accessory Visual Structures

Inferior Tarsal Muscle

Musculus tarsalis inferior

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Structure and/or Key Feature(s)

The inferior tarsal muscle is a thin layer of smooth muscle that arises from the fascia of the inferior rectus muscle and inserts into the lower border of the inferior tarsal plate. If activated by sympathetic nerves, it depresses the inferior eyelid, thus widening the palpebral fissure.

The tarsal muscles receive sympathetic innervation from the internal carotid plexus via the superior cervical ganglion.

Anatomical Relations

The capsulopalpebral fascia is the fused fascial sheath of the inferior oblique and inferior rectus muscles. Its anterior expansion extends into the lower eyelid. The inferior tarsal muscle attaches to the capsulopalpebral fascia at one end and to the inferior border of the inferior tarsus at the other.


Contraction of the inferior tarsal muscle, especially during downward gaze, pulls the eyelid downwards.

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