These are delicate filaments, from six to ten in number, which arise from the forepart of the ganglion in two bundles connected with its superior and inferior angles; the lower bundle is the larger.
The short ciliary nerve contains parasympathetic and sympathetic nerve fibers. The parasympathetics arise from the Edinger-Westphal nucleus and synapse in the ciliary ganglion via the oculomotor nerve, the postganglionic parasympathetics leave the ciliary ganglion in the short ciliary nerve and supply the ciliary body and iris. Sympathetics are provided by the superior cervical ganglion.
Damage to the short ciliary nerve may result in loss of the pupillary light reflex, or mydriasis.