Ciliary body
The ciliary body is the circumferential tissue inside the eye
Human eye
The human eye is an organ which reacts to light for several purposes. As a conscious sense organ, the eye allows vision. Rod and cone cells in the retina allow conscious light perception and vision including color differentiation and the perception of depth...

 composed of the ciliary muscle
Ciliary muscle
The ciliary muscle is a ring of striated smooth muscle in the eye's middle layer that controls accommodation for viewing objects at varying distances and regulates the flow of aqueous humour into Schlemm's canal. It changes the shape of the lens within the eye not the size of the pupil which is...

 and ciliary processes
Ciliary processes
The ciliary processes are formed by the inward folding of the various layers of the choroid, i.e., the choroid proper and the lamina basalis, and are received between corresponding foldings of the suspensory ligament of the lens.-Anatomy:...

. It is triangular in horizontal section and is coated by a double layer, the ciliary epithelium. This epithelium produces the aqueous humor. The inner layer is transparent and covers the vitreous body, and is continuous from the neural tissue of the retina
The vertebrate retina is a light-sensitive tissue lining the inner surface of the eye. The optics of the eye create an image of the visual world on the retina, which serves much the same function as the film in a camera. Light striking the retina initiates a cascade of chemical and electrical...

. The outer layer is highly pigmented, continuous with the retinal pigment epithelium, and constitutes the cells of the dilator muscle
Iris dilator muscle
The iris dilator muscle , is a smooth muscle of the eye, running radially in the iris and therefore fit as a dilator. It has its origin from the anterior epithelium. It is innervated by the sympathetic system, which acts by releasing noradrenaline, which acts on α1-receptors...

. This double membrane is often regarded to be continuous with the retina and a rudiment of the embryological correspondent to the retina. The inner layer is unpigmented until it reaches the iris
Iris (anatomy)
The iris is a thin, circular structure in the eye, responsible for controlling the diameter and size of the pupils and thus the amount of light reaching the retina. "Eye color" is the color of the iris, which can be green, blue, or brown. In some cases it can be hazel , grey, violet, or even pink...

, where it takes on pigment. The retina ends at the ora serrata
Ora serrata
The ora serrata is the serrated junction between the retina and the ciliary body. This junction marks the transition from the simple non-photosensitive area of the retina to the complex, multi-layered photosensitive region. In animals in which the region does not have a serrated appearance, it is...

. It is part of the uveal tract— the layer of tissue which provides most of the nutrients in the eye. It extends from the ora serrata to the root of the iris. There are three sets of ciliary muscles in the eye, the longitudinal, radial, and circular muscles. They are near the front of the eye, above and below the lens. They are attached to the lens by connective tissue
Connective tissue
"Connective tissue" is a fibrous tissue. It is one of the four traditional classes of tissues . Connective Tissue is found throughout the body.In fact the whole framework of the skeleton and the different specialized connective tissues from the crown of the head to the toes determine the form of...

 called the zonule of Zinn
Zonule of Zinn
The zonule of Zinn is a ring of fibrous strands connecting the ciliary body with the crystalline lens of the eye....

, and are responsible for shaping the lens to focus
Focus (optics)
In geometrical optics, a focus, also called an image point, is the point where light rays originating from a point on the object converge. Although the focus is conceptually a point, physically the focus has a spatial extent, called the blur circle. This non-ideal focusing may be caused by...

Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye, and is responsible for the sense of sight. Visible light has wavelength in a range from about 380 nanometres to about 740 nm, with a frequency range of about 405 THz to 790 THz...

 on the retina. The ciliary body receives parasympathetic innervation from the oculomotor nerve
Oculomotor nerve
The oculomotor nerve is the 3rd of 12 paired cranial nerves. It enters the orbit via the superior orbital fissure and controls most of the eye's movements, including constriction of the pupil and maintaining an open eyelid by innervating the Levator palpebrae superiors muscle. The optic nerve is...



The ciliary body has three functions: accommodation
Accommodation (eye)
Accommodation is the process by which the vertebrate eye changes optical power to maintain a clear image on an object as its distance changes....

, aqueous humor production and the production and maintenance of the lens zonules. It also anchors the lens in place. Accomommodation essentially means that when the ciliary muscle contracts, the lens becomes more convex, generally improving the focus for closer objects. When it relaxes it flattens the lens, generally improving the focus for farther objects. One of the essential roles of the ciliary body is also the production of the aqueous humor, which is responsible for providing most of the nutrients for the lens and the cornea
The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber. Together with the lens, the cornea refracts light, with the cornea accounting for approximately two-thirds of the eye's total optical power. In humans, the refractive power of the cornea is...

 and involved in waste management of these areas.

Clinical significance

The ciliary body is the main target of drugs against glaucoma
Glaucoma is an eye disorder in which the optic nerve suffers damage, permanently damaging vision in the affected eye and progressing to complete blindness if untreated. It is often, but not always, associated with increased pressure of the fluid in the eye...

Apraclonidine , also known as Iopidine, is a sympathomimetic used in glaucoma therapy. It is an α2-adrenergic agonist and a weak alpha-1 adrenergic receptor agonist....

) as it is responsible for aqueous humor production. Its inhibition leads to the lowering of aqueous humor production and causes a subsequent drop in the intraocular pressure
Intraocular pressure
Intraocular pressure is the fluid pressure inside the eye. Tonometry is the method eye care professionals use to determine this. IOP is an important aspect in the evaluation of patients at risk from glaucoma...

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