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Cranial Nerve Palsy and Ocular Motor Disorders


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Also known as oculomotor dysfunction, ocular motor disorders means that the eyes do not accurately track or move where you intend them to move. This occurs when the six muscles around the eye are not properly coordinated to move your eye.

Symptoms of ocular motor disorders include:

  • Double vision
  • Eye pain
  • Droopy eyelid
  • Difficulty reading or driving
  • Difficulty with balance and depth perception

A cranial nerve palsy occurs when a nerve of the eye doesn’t function properly. When you have a cranial nerve palsy, you may not be able to move your eyes normally and have double vision (diplopia). You may also experience droopy eyelids – known as ptosis – or pupils that are abnormally dilated (mydriasis).

Other ocular motor disorders include misalignment of the eyes (e.g. convergence insufficiency, divergence insufficiency) or abnormal eye movements such as nystagmus (rhythmic or dancing eye movements) or gaze palsy (difficulty move eyes to a direction).


Prismatic Measurement Exam - When needed, your doctor will conduct a thorough measurement of the ocular misalignment using prisms while covering one eye or the other.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan - Your doctor may order an MRI to rule out tumors and other structural abnormalities as these can cause similar symptoms.


Therapy - Treatment of cranial nerve palsies and ocular motor disorders depends on the cause. In some cases, you may need to wear prism glasses (specialized prescription).

Eye muscle surgery - In some cases, you may need to undergo eye muscle surgery.

Why Choose Bascom Palmer Eye Institute?

Ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report. Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, part of the University of Miami Health System, is the top-rated facility in the country for the treatment of diseases and disorders of the eye, according to U.S. News & World Report. When you choose us for your eye care, you will receive the best care in the nation in a compassionate setting.

Innovative research. As part of the University of Miami Health System, we are on the leading edge of medical innovations. Our patients have opportunities to join clinical studies and our doctors' research and are trained in sophisticated treatments. They have developed techniques now in use around the world.

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