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Alternative Names Return to topAbducens palsy; Lateral rectus palsy
Definition Return to top
Cranial mononeuropathy VI is a nerve disorder that causes people to see two of the same image (double vision).
Causes Return to top
Cranial mononeuropathy VI is damage to the sixth cranial (skull) nerve. This nerve, also called the abducens nerve, helps control eye movement.
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 disorder may affect other cranial nerves (such as the third or fourth cranial nerve).
Symptoms Return to top
Symptoms may include:
Exams and Tests Return to top
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 Return to top
If the health care provider finds a cause, medications called corticosteroids can reduce swelling and relieve pressure on the nerve. 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 may relieve double vision.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Treating the cause may improve the condition. Even if the cause is never found, the condition may improve.
Possible Complications Return to top
Complications may include permanent vision changes.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have double vision.
Prevention Return to top
There is no way to prevent this condition. However, people with diabetes may reduce the risk by controlling their blood sugar.Update Date: 2/13/2008 Updated by: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Departments of Anatomy & Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.