Annulus of Zinn

The annulus of Zinn, also known as the annular tendon or common tendinous ring, is a ring of fibrous tissue surrounding the optic nerve at its entrance at the apex of the orbit. It is the common origin of the four rectus muscles (extraocular muscles).

Annulus of Zinn
Rectus muscles:
2 = superior, 3 = inferior, 4 = medial, 5 = lateral
Oblique muscles: 6 = superior, 8 = inferior
Other muscle: 9 = levator palpebrae superioris
Other structures: 1 = Annulus of Zinn, 7 = Trochlea, 10 = Superior tarsus, 11 = Sclera, 12 = Optic nerve
Anterior view
LatinAnulus tendineus communis
Anatomical terminology

It can be used to divide the regions of the superior orbital fissure.[1]

The arteries surrounding the optic nerve are sometimes called the "circle of Zinn-Haller" ("CZH").[2] This vascular structure is also sometimes called "circle of Zinn".

The following structures pass through the tendinous ring (superior to inferior):


Some sources distinguish between these terms more precisely, with the anulus tendineus communis being the parent structure, divided into two parts:[3]


It is named for Johann Gottfried Zinn.[4][5] It should not be confused with the zonule of Zinn, though it is named after the same person.


  1. Shi X, Han H, Zhao J, Zhou C (2007). "Microsurgical anatomy of the superior orbital fissure". Clin Anat. 20 (4): 362–6. doi:10.1002/ca.20391. PMID 17080461.
  2. Ko MK, Kim DS, Ahn YK (1999). "Morphological variations of the peripapillary circle of Zinn-Haller by flat section". Br J Ophthalmol. 83 (7): 862–6. doi:10.1136/bjo.83.7.862. PMC 1723100. PMID 10381675.
  3. "eMedicine - Orbit Anatomy : Article by Guy J Petruzzelli". Archived from the original on 24 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
  4. synd/3938 at Who Named It?
  5. J. G. Zinn. Descriptio anatomica oculi humani. Göttingen, B. Abrami Vandenhoeck, 1755.
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