Third nerve palsy, also known as ‘oculomotor nerve palsy,’ occurs when the third cranial nerve is damaged by disease or injury.
The third cranial nerve controls the actions of four external eye muscles. These muscles are responsible for moving the eye upward and downward, rotating the eye outward and downward toward the ear and turning the eye inward.
The third cranial nerve also controls focusing abilities, upper eyelid position and pupil constriction.
Since many of the eye’s muscles are controlled by the third nerve, palsy of this nerve can result in partial or complete paralysis of the eye muscles.
Symptoms of third nerve palsy include:
An enlarged pupil that does not react normally to light
Double vision (diplopia)
Droopy eyelid (ptosis)
Eye misalignment (strabismus)
Tilted head to compensate for binocular vision difficulties
The most common causes of third nerve palsy include:
Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the condition.
For example, surgery may be recommended if an aneurysm or tumor is pressing on the nerve, as it will help relieve the pressure on the nerve and promote healing.
In order to relieve double vision and eye misalignment, the following treatments may be recommended:
Patching one eye to improve binocular vision
Prism lenses to reduce or eliminate double vision
Muscle surgery to realign the eyes
Eyelid surgery to correct the ptosis
Vision therapy is a customized program that is effective for some patients with third nerve palsy, as it can help to improve the control of eye movements and binocular vision.
If you notice any sudden changes in your vision, especially double vision or an eye turn, contact Revision Optix to schedule your comprehensive eye exam as soon as possible.
Revision Optix serves patients from Simpsonville , Greenville, Mauldin and Taylors, all throughout South Carolina.