What are the Different Treatments for Cranial Nerve Palsy?

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  • Written By: Eric Stolze
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 21 December 2018
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The different treatments for cranial nerve palsy depend on the specific cranial nerve that is affected. They can include surgery, medications or eyeglasses.

Cranial nerve palsy is a medical disorder that typically results from a lack of functioning in a cranial nerve. People generally have several different cranial nerves that link the brain stem to different parts of the face and head. Examples include the third, fourth, sixth, and seventh cranial nerves.

A palsy of the third cranial nerve generally affects a patient’s ability to move the eyes, constrict the pupils and focus or move the upper eyelids. Droopy eyelids and double vision are common symptoms of a cranial nerve palsy of the third cranial nerve. If the palsy is caused by a pressure on the affected nerve, a surgeon may decide to perform a surgery to relieve this pressure. In some cases, eye muscle surgery, special exercises and special eyeglasses or eye patches may be used to treat this palsy.


People with a cranial nerve palsy of the fourth cranial nerve typically develop a misalignment of the eyes. This palsy may cause double vision, and some people with this palsy may tilt their heads in order to help with their symptoms. Head trauma is a common cause of this kind of palsy. This palsy may clear up after several months of observation, and patients may wear corrective prism eyeglasses to help with their double vision. In some cases, a physician may surgically correct a patient’s eyes if they are misaligned from this type of palsy.

Palsy of the sixth cranial nerve is a condition that usually causes the lateral rectus muscle to make an eye turn inward toward the nose. Double vision is a common symptom of this palsy, and the condition may result from a variety of causes including a stroke, head trauma or brain inflammation. In some cases, a doctor may surgically correct a misaligned eye, or he may inject botulinum toxin into the lateral rectus muscle to weaken the muscle’s effect on the eyes.

A seventh cranial nerve palsy typically affects facial movements and can cause changes in a patient’s facial appearance due to an inability to properly move the muscles of the face. Headaches and problems with eating can also occur with this condition. In some cases, this palsy can clear up on its own, but some physicians may choose to perform corrective surgery to remove a tumor or other source of nerve pressure. Eye drops and anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed in some cases.


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