Skip to main content

Unfortunately we don't fully support your browser. If you have the option to, please upgrade to a newer version or use Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Safari 14 or newer. If you are unable to, and need support, please send us your feedback.

Publish with us
Central Retinal Artery
Eye & Accessory Visual Structures

Central Retinal Artery

Arteria centralis retinae

Read more

Quick Facts

Origin: Ophthalmic artery.

Course: Runs inside the optic nerve to reach the eyeball.

Branches: Superior and inferior nasal and temporal branches.

Supplied Structures: Retina.

Complete Anatomy
The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform
Try it for Free


The central retinal artery is the small, first branch of the ophthalmic artery.


The central retinal artery arises just below the optic nerve. For a short time, it lies inferiorly in the dural sheath surrounding the optic nerve, and then enters the optic nerve to course towards the retina (extraocular part). It enters the eyeball through the lamina cribrosa, where it gives off several branches (intraocular part). The intraocular part course over the innermost surface of the retina, superficial to the ganglion cell layer. It sends small branches into the retina that extend through and supply cells of the ganglion cell layer, the inner plexiform layer, the inner nuclear layer, and the outer plexiform layer. It does not supply the rod and cone photoreceptors of the outer nuclear layer which are served by diffusion from the choriocapillaris.


The intraocular part of the central retinal artery divides into superior and inferior temporal, and superior and inferior nasal branches, each of which supply a quadrant of the retina. The superior and inferior temporal branches arc above and below the macula but do not supply structures at the depths of the fovea.

Supplied Structures

The central retinal artery supplies the inner layers of the retina of the eyeball.

List of Clinical Correlates


Complete Anatomy

The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform

Complete Anatomy