Certain cranial nerves (3, 4, and 6) control eye movement and function. Palsy means weakness or lack of function, and palsies in these cranial nerves cause problems with eye function.
Some causes of cranial nerve palsies affecting the eyes include:
Symptoms of cranial nerve palsies can differ depending on the particular nerve that is affected. You or your child’s pediatrician may see symptoms like the following:
You or your child’s pediatrician may notice problems with your child’s eye alignment or movement. A routine eye exam and a more thorough exam by a pediatric ophthalmologist will help pinpoint the condition.
At Children’s National, we may recommend further testing to find out what is causing the cranial nerve palsies, as follows:
Cranial nerve palsies often resolve themselves over a few months. If they do not, our focus is to treat the symptoms as well as the underlying cause. At Children’s National, our treatment options include:
Our specialized pediatric ophthalmologists are experts at recognizing and treating complex eye conditions in infants and children.
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When Jason was born, the Children's National team was already standing by to treat his failing kidneys. He spent his first two months in the NICU, and he has been in and out of Children's National for the past six years.
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Learn more about the causes, symptoms and treatments for esotropia and exotropia, misalignment of the eyes.