Isolated Ocular Motor Nerve Palsies

Nathan H. Kung, Gregory P. Van Stavern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


An isolated ocular motor nerve palsy is defined as dysfunction of a single ocular motor nerve (oculomotor, trochlear, or abducens) with no associated or localizing neurologic signs or symptoms. When occurring in patients aged 50 or older, the most common cause is microvascular ischemia, but serious etiologies such as aneurysm, malignancy, and giant cell arteritis should always be considered. In this article, the authors review the clinical approach, anatomy, and differential diagnosis of each isolated ocular motor nerve palsy and discuss the clinical characteristics, pathophysiology, and treatment of microvascular ischemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-548
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in Neurology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • diplopia
  • microvascular ischemia
  • ocular motility


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