Iris sphincter muscle
The iris sphincter muscle (pupillary sphincter, pupillary constrictor, circular muscle of iris, circular fibers) is a muscle
Muscle is a contractile tissue of animals and is derived from the mesodermal layer of embryonic germ cells. Muscle cells contain contractile filaments that move past each other and change the size of the cell. They are classified as skeletal, cardiac, or smooth muscles. Their function is to...

 in the part of 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...

 called 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...

. It encircles the eye, appropriate to its function as a constrictor.

General Structure

Initially, all the myocytes are of the smooth muscle
Smooth muscle
Smooth muscle is an involuntary non-striated muscle. It is divided into two sub-groups; the single-unit and multiunit smooth muscle. Within single-unit smooth muscle tissues, the autonomic nervous system innervates a single cell within a sheet or bundle and the action potential is propagated by...

 type but, later in life, most cells are of the striated muscle
Striated muscle
Striated muscle tissue is a form of fibers that are combined into parallel fibers. More specifically, it can refer to:* Cardiac muscle .* Skeletal muscle* Branchiomeric muscles...


Its dimensions are about 0.75 mm wide by 0.15 mm thick.

Mode of Action

In humans, it functions to constrict the pupil
The pupil is a hole located in the center of the iris of the eye that allows light to enter the retina. It appears black because most of the light entering the pupil is absorbed by the tissues inside the eye. In humans the pupil is round, but other species, such as some cats, have slit pupils. In...

 in bright light (pupillary reflex
Pupillary reflex
The pupillary light reflex is a reflex that controls the diameter of the pupil, in response to the intensity of light that falls on the retina of the eye, thereby assisting in adaptation to various levels of darkness and light, in addition to retinal sensitivity...

) or during accommodation
Accommodation reflex
The accommodation reflex is a reflex action of the eye, in response to focusing on a near object, then looking at distant object , comprising coordinated changes in vergence, lens shape and pupil size...



It is controlled by parasympathetic
Parasympathetic nervous system
The parasympathetic nervous system is one of the two main divisions of the autonomic nervous system . The ANS is responsible for regulation of internal organs and glands, which occurs unconsciously...

 fibers that originate from the Edinger-Westphal nucleus
Edinger-Westphal nucleus
The Edinger-Westphal nucleus is the accessory parasympathetic cranial nerve nucleus of the oculomotor nerve , supplying the constricting muscles of the iris...

, travel along 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...

 (CN III), synapse in the ciliary ganglion
Ciliary ganglion
The ciliary ganglion is a parasympathetic ganglion located in the posterior orbit. It measures 1–2 millimeters in diameter and contains approximately 2,500 neurons. Preganglionic axons from the Edinger-Westphal nucleus travel along the oculomotor nerve and form synapses with these cells...

, and then enter the eye via the short ciliary nerves.

External links

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