Ophthalmoplegia

Labelled Diagram of the Eye

Labelled diagram of the structure of the retina

The word ophthalmoplegia means paralysis of the muscles of the eye.

There are several forms of ophthalmoplegia, including:

  • Internal Ophthalmoplegia - the muscles inside the eyeball are paralyzed. This case affects the iris which controls the amount of light allowed into the eye, and
    the ciliary muscles which control the shape of the lens, hence the ability to focus on specific objects (near or far away).
  • External Ophthalmoplegia - the muscles that move the eyeball are paralyzed. In this case, it may not be a problem to focus on near or distant objects in either bright or dim light, but the only way to look in a different direction would be to move the whole head (at the neck).
  • Chronic Progressive External Opthalmoplegia - a progressive disease of the extrinsic eye muscles. It can lead to ptosis (drooping of the upper eyelid) and eventually to paralysis of the affected muscles.
  • Internuclear Ophtalmoplegia - due to a lesion in the brainstem. This is not unusual in cases of multiple sclerosis.

More about Ophthalmology:

This section includes short definitions of many diseases, disorders, and conditions of the eyes and visual system.
For definitions of other terms in this category, choose from the list to the left (but note that this is not a complete/exhaustive list).

Other related pages include

For further information see also our pages of books about ophthalmology.

The following books may also be of interest:

The Aging Eye (Harvard Medical School)
MCQ Companion to the Eye (Textbook)
The Secret of Perfect Vision: How You Can Prevent and Reverse Nearsightedness
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About(TM) Glaucoma: The Essential Treatments and Advances That Could Save Your Sight

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