The aim of this study was to investigate the detailed configuration of periocular elastic fibers. Semiserial paraffin sections were made using 40 whole orbital contents from 27 elderly cadavers and stained by the aldehyde-fuchsin method. Periocular tissues were classified into three types according to directions of the elastic fibers, i.e., tissues containing anteroposteriorly running elastic fibers, those with mediolateral fibers, and those with meshwork of fibers. Anteroposterior elastic fiber-dominant tissue was seen in the upper eyelid and newly defined pulley plate for the medial and lateral recti (MR, LR). Mediolateral fibers were predominant in the central part of the inferior rectus pulley. In the pulley plates for the MR and LR, anteroposteriorly running fibers encased the striated muscle. Tenon's capsule and the epimysium of the recti were mediolateral fiber-dominant. However, at the entrance of the muscle terminal where Tenon's capsule reflects and continues to the epimysium, composite elastic fibers provided a meshwork-like skeleton. The elastic mesh was also seen around the lacrimal canaliculi. The pulley for the recti seemed to be composed of two parts-a connective tissue plate encasing the recti and specialized Tenon's capsule at an entrance or porta of the muscle. For both parts, elastic fibers were major functional components. The anteroposterior elastic fibers in the MR and LR pulley plates, especially, seemed to receive anteroposteriorly directed stress and tension from these striated muscles. The elastic interfaces seemed to prevent any concentration of stress that would interfere with periocular striated muscle functions, including hypothetical active pulleys.
- Elastic fiber
- Lacrimal canaliculus
- Pulley for the extraocular recti
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