Would you like to create a similar project?




Centre of Anatomy and Human Identification, University of Dundee. This project was part of my MSc Medical Art


Lecturers from the centre of Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID) at the University of Dundee were looking for innovative ways to teach their students about the anatomy of the eye and orbit. The main focus would be the clinical testing of the eyes, consisting on a series of movements by which the actions of individual nerves and muscles can be tested. The problem they found is that they were limited to static 2D images, and they wanted a different resource that could help students better visualize complex anatomical structures.


To bridge this gap, we decided to create a series of interactive 3D models of the eye and surrounding structures. The models can be rotated and viewed from any angle. The zoom function can also be used to visualize details. Using the 3D platform Sketchfab, the models can also be labeled to help with studying.
The project consisted on a series of 9 models depicting the eye orbit, the axes, the extraocular muscles and the 6 movements that are examined during clinical testing. I also created a site that collected all of the models and some additional information.

These were the models created for this project. All of them use parts from BodyParts3D, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.1

In some of the models, the action of a muscle is illustrated. You can identify the active muscle because it is shown in a brighter color than the rest and it's shown connected to its nerve.

1. Bones of the orbit. The orbit is more complex than it seems: it is formed by 6 bones. In this model, each one was given a different color to highlight each component. Only part of the skull is shown, to keep the models as simple as possible.

2. Axes of the eye and orbit. The axis of the eye and the axis of the orbit point in different directions. This might sound counter-intuitive, but it's easier to understand with a 3D model. This is relevant to clinical testing, because in order to assess some of the individual muscles, both axes have to be aligned.

3. The extra-ocular muscles. This model illustrates the muscles that are tested during clinical testing of the eye. The rest of the models show the eye making different movements, so we wanted to have one showing everything in a neutral position.

4. Abduction. The lateral rectus muscle abducts the eye. This is a key movement in clinical testing because it brings the axis of the eye in line with the axis of the orbit. You can rotate the model to spot the active muscle and nerve.

5. Abduction and elevation. The arrows in the model represent the sequential movements made by the patient in order to test a certain muscle. You can rotate the model to see which muscle is being tested and what nerve activates it.

6. Abduction and depression. The arrows in the model represent the sequential movements made by the patient in order to test a certain muscle. Rotate the model to see what muscle and nerve are being tested.

7. Adduction of the eye. The medial rectus adducts the eye and brings the gaze into the same plane as the superior and inferior oblique, the next muscles to be tested. If you want to see the active muscle and the nerve that activates it, rotate the model.

8. Adduction and elevation. Once the aye is adducted, the oblique muscles can be tested. From this position, the inferior oblique muscle elevates the eye. Rotate the model to view it!

9. Adduction and depression. Once the aye is adducted, the oblique muscles can be tested. From this position, the superior oblique muscle depresses the eye. Rotate the model to view it this muscle and its corresponding nerve!

Would you like to create similar visuals for your education?

Explore other E-Learning projects

  • LinkedIn - White Circle
  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Instagram - Cristina sala ripoll - cristinagraphics
  • Twitter - White Circle

I'm Cristina, a scientific illustrator based in Alicante, Spain.

I have scientific training as a biotechnologist, which I combine with my education and experience as a medical artist and illustrator to create visual solutions for scientific communication. 


My goal is to make your project stand out with beautiful visuals and design. With a compelling design, you can engage your audience and motivate it to take action.

If you have a question or an idea for a project, feel free to contact me!

Instagram @cristinagraphics

© 2020 by Cristina Sala Ripoll, unless otherwise stated. 

You may not share or distribute the content of this site without attribution permission of the author.