The ciliary body is the circumferential tissue inside the eye composed of the ciliary muscle and ciliary processes. It is triangular in horizontal section, and is coated by a double layer, the ciliary epithelium. The inner layer is transparent and covers the vitreous body, and is continuous from the neural tissue of the retina. The outer layer is highly pigmented, continuous with the retinal pigment epithelium, and constitutes the cells of the dilator muscle. This double membrane is often regarded to be continuous with the retina and a rudiment of the embryological correspondent to the retina. The inner layer is unpigmented until it reaches the iris, where it takes on pigment. The retina ends at the ora serrata, the function of which is to secrete the aqueous humor. It is part of the uveal tract— the layer of tissue which provides most of the nutrients in the eye. It extends from the ora serrata to the root of the iris. There are three sets of ciliary muscles in the eye, the longitudinal, radial, and circular muscles. They are near the front of the eye, above and below the lens. They are attached to the lens by connective tissue called the zonule of Zinn, and are responsible for shaping the lens to focus light on the retina.
When the ciliary muscle relaxes, it flattens the lens, generally improving the focus for farther objects. When it contracts, the lens becomes more convex, generally improving the focus for closer objects.