top of page
  • Writer's pictureCheyanne Mallas

The Anatomy of the Tear Trough

The Anatomy of the Tear Trough


The tear trough, also known as the nasojugal groove, is a distinct anatomical structure located under the lower eyelid. It is an important area to consider in cosmetic surgery and dermatology due to its role in facial aesthetics and the aging process. This paper aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the anatomy of the tear trough, including its structure, function, and clinical significance.


The tear trough begins at the inner corner of the eye and extends laterally towards the mid-pupillary line. It is bordered superiorly by the infraorbital rim and inferiorly by the maxillary bone. The skin in this region is thin and delicate, overlaying subcutaneous fat, which gradually transitions to the orbicularis oculi muscle and the deeper structures of the face.

The tear trough is formed by two main components: the orbital septum and the orbicularis retaining ligament. The orbital septum is a fibrous membrane that separates the orbital fat pads from the preseptal fat. It extends from the periosteum of the orbital rim to the tarsal plate of the eyelid. The orbicularis retaining ligament, located deeper, attaches the orbicularis oculi muscle to the periosteum of the maxillary bone. These structures create a natural anatomical depression, resulting in the tear trough.


The primary function of the tear trough is to facilitate the flow of tears from the eye into the nasolacrimal duct. Tears are produced by the lacrimal gland and spread across the ocular surface to maintain lubrication and clear debris. The tear trough acts as a conduit for the drainage of excess tears, preventing them from overflowing onto the cheeks.

Clinical Significance:

The tear trough plays a crucial role in facial aesthetics, as changes in its appearance can contribute to an aged or tired appearance. With aging, several factors can affect the tear trough area. These include loss of skin elasticity, thinning of subcutaneous fat, and descent of the malar fat pad. These changes can result in the deepening of the tear trough, the formation of dark circles, and the appearance of under-eye bags.

Cosmetic interventions targeting the tear trough have gained popularity in recent years. Procedures such as tear trough fillers, fat grafting, and lower eyelid blepharoplasty can help restore volume, reduce hollowness, and improve the overall appearance of the under-eye area. However, these procedures require a thorough understanding of the tear trough anatomy to ensure safe and effective outcomes.


In conclusion, the tear trough is an important anatomical structure located under the lower eyelid. Its complex anatomy and role in facial aesthetics make it a significant consideration in cosmetic surgery and dermatology. Understanding the anatomy of the tear trough is crucial for healthcare professionals seeking to address aesthetic concerns in this area and provide optimal patient outcomes. Further research in this field can contribute to the development of innovative techniques and treatments for tear trough rejuvenation.

3 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page