Central Retinal Artery: A Human Fetal Cadaveric Study with Histological Correlation

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Kurume Medical Journal


The optic nerve is the second cranial nerve. It is supplied by the central retinal artery. It is said that this artery starts getting incorporated within the optic nerve at around the sixth week of gestation, and by the ninth week it is entirely inside the optic nerve. However, the point of incorporation lies in the intraorbital course of the optic nerve. The present study aimed at identifying the location of the central retinal artery inside the optic nerve, i.e. the peripheral or central position. Human fetuses of second and third trimester were dissected to expose the optic nerve. Morphometric measurements were taken and sectioned in 3 regions. These transverse sections were subjected to histological procedures. The results showed that the central retinal artery, at its entry into the optic nerve, was peripheral and inferior in 3 of 25 optic nerves and peripheral and lateral in the remaining optic nerves. However, the arteries were all centrally placed, close to the posterior pole of the eyeball. These findings are impor-tant for the ophthalmologist in identifying certain congenital anomalies of the eyeball in neonates.

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