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Long Ciliary Nerves
Nervous System

Long Ciliary Nerves

Nervi ciliares longi

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Quick Facts

Origin: Nasociliary nerve.

Course: Run along the medial and superior aspect of the optic nerve to the sclera of the posterior medial eye.

Branches: None.

Supply: Sensory: conveys general sensation from the eye and cornea; Sympathetic: dilator pupillae muscle.

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The long ciliary nerves originate as branches of the nasociliary nerve in the posterior orbit. They typically branch off the nasociliary nerve as it passes over the optic nerve.


The long ciliary nerves run along the medial side of the optic nerve, inserting into the sclera of the posterior eye, slightly on the medial side.


There are no named branches.

Supplied Structures

The long ciliary nerves are sensory nerves that also transmit sympathetic fibers to the eye.

The sensory fibers convey general sensation from the eye and cornea. The sympathetic fibers traveling with the internal carotid artery and the ophthalmic artery join the nasociliary nerve, pass to the long ciliary nerves, then reach the eye where they innervate the dilator pupillae muscle.

List of Clinical Correlates



—Corneal reflex

—Pupillary light reflex

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Long Ciliary Nerves

ScienceDirect image

The long ciliary nerves contain postganglionic sympathetic fibers from the superior cervical ganglion that innervate the dilator pupillae muscle (Standring, 2008).

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