Anatomic characteristics of supraorbital and supratrochlear nerves relevant to their use in corneal neurotization

Leahthan F. Domeshek, Daniel A. Hunter, Katherine Santosa, Steven M. Couch, Asim Ali, Gregory H. Borschel, Ronald M. Zuker, Alison K. Snyder-Warwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Corneal denervation can lead to opacification and blindness. A new treatment technique, surgical corneal neurotization, transfers healthy donor nerve, (most commonly contralateral supratrochlear or supraorbital) to the affected limbus to prevent corneal destruction and improve healing potential of the cornea following insult. We examine gross and histomorphometric anatomy of the supratrochlear and supraorbital nerves relevant to their use in corneal neurotization. Methods: For each of nine adult cadaver heads, bilateral supraorbital and supratrochlear nerves were dissected from the supraorbital rim to the anterior hairline. The following data were recorded for each nerve: exit from the orbit through a notch versus foramen; horizontal distance from midline at the supraorbital rim; and distance from orbital exit to first branching point. Samples of all left supraorbital and supratrochlear nerves were obtained at the level of the supraorbital rim and at points 3 cm and 6 cm distally for histomorphometric analysis. Myelinated axon counts were determined for each sample. Results: Four supraorbital foramina, 14 supraorbital notches, two supratrochlear foramina, and 15 supratrochlear notches were identified. Average supraorbital and supratrochlear distances to midline were 26.5 mm and 21 mm respectively. Average myelinated axon counts for both nerves were greater at the orbital rim (supraorbital: 6018, supratrochlear: 2533) than at 6 cm distally (supraorbital: 1621, supratrochlear: 1112). Conclusions: Anatomic dissection shows relative close approximation of the supraorbital and supratrochlear nerves, with a high proportion of both nerves exiting the orbit through foramina. The supraorbital nerve at the orbital rim contains the greatest number of myelinated axons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-403
Number of pages6
JournalEye (Basingstoke)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


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