Reference Index - Disease & Conditions

Back to Health Library

Central nervous system
Central nervous system


Cranial mononeuropathy VI

Definition:

Cranial mononeuropathy VI is a nerve disorder. It prevents some of the muscles that control eye movements from working well. As a result, people may see two of the same image (double vision).



Alternative Names:

Abducens palsy; Lateral rectus palsy; Vith nerve palsy; Cranial nerve VI palsy



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Cranial mononeuropathy VI is damage to the sixth cranial (skull) nerve. This nerve, also called the abducens nerve, helps control eye movement to the left or right.

Disorders of this nerve can occur with:

In some people, there is no obvious cause.

Because there are common nerve pathways through the skull, the same disorder that damages the sixth cranial nerve may affect other cranial nerves (such as the third or fourth cranial nerve).



Symptoms:

Symptoms may include:

  • Double vision when looking to one side
  • Headaches
  • Pain around the eye


Signs and tests:

Tests typically show that one eye has trouble looking to the side, while the other eye moves normally. An examination shows the eyes do not line up -- either at rest, or when looking in the direction of the weak eye.

Your health care provider will do a complete examination to determine the possible effect on other parts of the nervous system. Depending on the suspected cause, you may need:

You may need to be referred to a doctor who specializes in visual problems related to the nervous system (neuro-ophthalmologist).



Treatment:

If your health care provider diagnoses swelling or inflammation of, or around the nerve, medications called corticosteroids will be used.

Sometimes, the condition may disappear without treatment. People with diabetes may benefit from close control of blood sugar levels .

Until the nerve heals, wearing an eye patch will relieve double vision.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Treating the cause may improve the condition. Most people in whom no cause is found recover completely.



Complications:

Complications may include permanent vision changes.



Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if you have double vision.



Prevention:

There is no way to prevent this condition. However, people with diabetes may reduce the risk by controlling their blood sugar.



References:

Baloh RW. Neuro-ophthalmology. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 450.




Review Date: 6/15/2010
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Greater Baltimore Medical Center | 6701 North Charles Street | Baltimore, MD 21204 | (443) 849-2000 | TTY (800) 735-2258
© 2014  GBMC. This website is for informational purposes only and not intended as medical advice or a substitute for a consultation with a professional healthcare provider.