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Alternative Names Return to topThird cranial nerve palsy; Oculomotor palsy; Pupil-involving third cranial nerve palsy
Definition Return to top
Cranial mononeuropathy III is a problem with the function of the third cranial nerve, which is located behind the eye.
Causes Return to top
Cranial mononeuropathy III - compression type is a mononeuropathy, which means that only one nerve is affected. It affects the third cranial (oculomotor) nerve, one of the cranial nerves that controls eye movement. Local tumors or swelling can press down on and damage the nerve.
Causes may include:
Rarely, people with migraine headaches may have a temporary problem with the oculomotor nerve. This is probably due to a spasm of the blood vessels. In some cases, no cause can be found.
Symptoms Return to top
Other symptoms may occur if the cause is a tumor or trauma. Decreasing consciousness is a serious sign, because it could indicate brain damage or death.
Exams and Tests Return to top
An eye examination may show:
A complete medical and nervous system (neurological) examination can show whether any other parts of the body are affected.
Other tests may include:
Treatment Return to top
Some cases may get better without treatment. Treating the cause (if it can be found) may relieve the symptoms in many cases.
Treatment may include:
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Some cranial nerve dysfunctions will respond to treatment. A few cases result in some permanent loss of function. If the problem is caused by brain swelling due to a tumor or stroke, those conditions may be life-threatening.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call the local emergency number (such as 911) or go to the emergency room if you have:
Prevention Return to top
Quickly treating disorders that could press down on the nerve may reduce the risk of developing cranial mononeuropathy III.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.