Supranuclear ophthalmoplegia is a condition that affects the movement of the eyes.
Progressive supranuclear palsy - supranuclear ophthalmoplegia; Encephalitis - supranuclear ophthalmoplegia; Olivopontocerebellar atrophy - supranuclear ophthalmoplegia; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - supranuclear ophthalmoplegia; Whipple disease - supranuclear ophthalmoplegia; Dementia - supranuclear ophthalmoplegia
This disorder occurs because the brain is sending and receiving faulty information through the nerves that control eye movement. The nerves themselves are healthy.
People who have this problem often have progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). This is a disorder that affects the way the brain controls movement.
Other disorders that have been associated with this condition include:
- Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis)
- Disease that causes areas deep in the brain, just above the spinal cord, to shrink (olivopontocerebellar atrophy)
- Disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
- Malabsorption disorder of the small intestine (Whipple disease)
People with supranuclear ophthalmoplegia are unable to move their eyes at will in all directions, especially looking upward.
Other symptoms may include:
- Mild dementia
- Stiff and uncoordinated movements like those of Parkinson disease
- Those of the disorder associated with supranuclear ophthalmoplegia
Exams and Tests
The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask about the symptoms, focusing on the eyes and nervous system.
Tests will be done to check for diseases linked with supranuclear ophthalmoplegia. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) might show shrinking of the brainstem.
The treatment depends on the cause of the supranuclear ophthalmoplegia.
The outlook depends on the cause of the supranuclear ophthalmoplegia.
Lavin PJM. Neuro-ophthalmology. In: Daroff RB, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SK, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 44.
Ling H. Clinical approach to progressive supranuclear palsy. J Mov Disord. 2016;9(1):3-13. PMID: 26828211 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26828211.
Reviewed By: Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, Attending Neurologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, SUNY Stony Brook, School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.