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Front of left eye with eyelids separated to show medial canthus.
Anatomical terminology

Canthus (pl. canthi, palpebral commissures) is either corner of the eye where the upper and lower eyelids meet.[1] More specifically, the inner and outer canthi are, respectively, the medial and lateral ends/angles of the palpebral fissure.

The bicanthal plane is the transversal plane linking both canthi and defines the upper boundary of the midface.

Mongoloid eyes tend to have the inner canthus veiled by the epicanthus. In Caucasians the inner corner tends to be exposed completely.[2]


  • The lateral palpebral commissure (commissura palpebrarum lateralis; external canthus) is more acute than the medial, and the eyelids here lie in close contact with the bulb of the eye.
  • The medial palpebral commissure (commissura palpebrarum medialis; internal canthus) is prolonged for a short distance toward the nose, and the two eyelids are separated by a triangular space, the lacus lacrimalis.


Canthoplasty refers to a plastic surgery of the medial and/or lateral canthus.

A canthotomy involves cutting the canthus, often performed to release excessive orbital pressure (i.e., from orbital hemorrhage or infection).


Dystopia canthorum is a lateral displacement of the inner canthi of the eyes, giving an appearance of a widened nasal bridge.[3] It is associated with Waardenburg syndrome.which is due to mutation in PAX gene. [4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "canthus" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  2. ^ Bongsik Kwon, Anh H. Nguyen: Reconsideration of the Epicanthus: Evolution of the Eyelid and the Devolutional Concept of Asian Blepharoplasty Semin Plast Surg. 2015 Aug; 29(3): 171–183. doi:10.1055/s-0035-1556849, PMC 4536067
  3. ^ Genetic Hearing Loss from UTMB, Dept. of Otolaryngology, March 17, 2004. Resident physician: Jing Shen, faculty physician: Ronald W. Deskin, MD, series editors: Francis B. Quinn, Jr., MD and Matthew W. Ryan, MD.
  4. ^ Tagra S, Talwar AK, Walia RL, Sidhu P (2006). "Waardenburg syndrome". Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 72 (4): 326. PMID 16880590. doi:10.4103/0378-6323.26718. 

External links[edit]