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Third Nerve Palsy

Nerve Palsy, Symptoms and Causes

Third Nerve Palsy Description

Third nerve palsy prevents the eye from moving normally in all directions. It also affects the eyelid muscle which results in a drooping upper eyelid, a condition known as ptosis. Third nerve palsy refers to the fact that one of the cranial nerves that controls eye movement is affected--the third cranial nerve.

Third Nerve Palsy Symptoms

Third nerve palsy symptoms include:

  • Double vision (diplopia)
  • Drooping of one eyelid (ptosis)
  • Enlarged pupil that reacts poorly to light
  • Headache or eye pain
  • Additional third nerve palsy symptoms may occur if the cause is a tumor or trauma, including decreased consciousness.

Third Nerve Palsy Causes

Although the exact cause is not known, various conditions can lead to third nerve palsy, including:

  • Brain aneuryms
  • Infections
  • Poorly formed blood vessels
  • Tumors or other growths
  • Tissue damage from loss of blood flow (infarction)
  • Meningitis
  • Diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Trauma from head injuries or caused accidentally during surgery
  • Migraine headaches (rarely)
  • Third nerve palsy may be a congenital condition that is present at birth