There are six muscles which are responsible for controlling the movement of the eyeballs. These muscles are called extrinsic eye muscles because their origin points are outside of the eyeballs (in the orbit) and insertion points are on the outer surface of the Sclera. The extrinsic eye muscles are some of the fastest contracting and most precisely controlled skeletal muscles in the human body and function as “antagonist” pairs to move the eyeball. The pairs are:
- Superior Rectus Oculi and Inferior Rectus Oculi Muscles,
- Lateral Rectus Oculi and Medial Rectus Oculi Muscles,
- Superior Oblique Oculi and Inferior Oblique Oculi Muscles.
The Rectus muscles are primarily responsible for the movement of the eyeballs in the four cardinal directions: up, down, left and right. The pair of Oblique muscles are responsible for controlling the adjustments involved in counteracting head movements, in other words being able to keep your focus on something whilst your head moves. But this is a generalization, for further information see the detailed description of every muscle.