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Supranuclear ophthalmoplegia is a condition that affects the movement of the eyes.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
This disorder occurs because the brain is sending and receiving faulty information through the nerves that control eye movement. The nerves themselves are healthy.
People who have this problem may have progressive supranuclear palsy, a disorder that affects the way the brain controls movement. A brain injury (such as stroke) also can cause supranuclear ophthalmoplegia.
People with this condition are unable to move their eyes in all directions, especially looking upward.
Signs and tests
An exam of the nervous system (neurological examination) may show:
- Limited eye movements, especially vertical movements
- Mild dementia
- Normal vision, hearing, sensation, and voluntary control of movement
- Stiff and uncoordinated movements like those of Parkinson's disease
The health care provider may do tests to rule out other diseases. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) might show shrinking of the brainstem.
The treatment depends on the cause of the supranuclear ophthalmoplegia.
The outlook depends on the cause of the supranuclear ophthalmoplegia.
Calling your health care provider
Lang A. Parkinsonism. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 433.
- Last Reviewed on 05/21/2012
- Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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This page was last updated: May 31, 2013