Sixth Nerve Palsy- causes, symptoms, and treatment

Health Insurance Plans starting at Rs.15/day*

Health Insurance Plans starting at Rs.15/day*

What is Sixth Nerve Palsy?

Sixth Nerve Palsy is also known as abducens nerve palsy, a disorder that affects the movement of the human eye. It is caused by the dysfunction of the sixth cranial nerve, which is primarily responsible for turning out the vision.  

The primary function of the sixth cranial nerve is to send signals to your lateral rectus muscle, which helps to turn your eyes away from your nose. The inability of an eye to turn outward leads to diplopia, commonly known as Double vision, which weakens the lateral muscle causing Sixth Nerve Palsy.

What are the causes of Sixth Nerve Palsy?

Sixth Nerve Palsy can be caused either congenital or due to the sixth cranial nerve injury during delivery. Sixth Nerve Palsy causes the eye to move only inward; hence the outward movement of the eye becomes motionless. Mostly, the cause of Sixth Nerve Palsy remains unknown.

Some of the vital causes of the Sixth Nerve Palsy are:

Sometimes, a severe head injury in the skull can cause perilous damage to the sixth cranial nerve for adults. For children, the most common cause of this disease is due to trauma.  

But, as per statistics, the most common cause of sixth nerve palsy is due to unprecedented severe stroke. Since stroke is considered to be the primary cause of Sixth Nerve Palsy.

Taking relevant precautions like controlling blood pressure, involving in physical exercises, reducing weight, and having control of the diet are some of the significant ways to mitigate the causes of stroke thereby, the occurrence of Sixth Nerve Palsy can be exponentially reduced.

What are the important symptoms of Sixth Nerve Palsy?  

  • Sixth Nerve Palsy cannot be caused instantly; it does give symptoms like Esotropia and Diplopia.  
  • Sudden bacterial infection in eyes.
  • Esotropia is a form in which one or two eyes turn inwards, causing latent deviation. Diplopia is a form in which a single object appears to be a double object to the person, sometimes referred to as Double vision.
  • The face of the person sometimes turns towards the side of the affected eye, moving the eye out from the focus.
  • A person may experience blurriness and mild loss of visual focus, which is the initial sign of Sixth Nerve Palsy.
  • It is pretty difficult to figure out the sign of Sixth Nerve Palsy in children as they may not experience diplopia. The Neuroplasticity present in children allows them to stop the bypass of information from one eye to the other to reduce diplopia.
  • Sudden dizziness in the eyes and intermittent pain in any one of the eyes.

How to treat Sixth Nerve Palsy?

In most cases, Sixth Nerve Palsy does not specifically require treatment at all. It naturally disappears after some time. In other cases, it requires proper treatment for complete healing. It can also be healed by consuming relevant antibiotics related to your medical history, but the doctor’s examination is mandatory.

If Sixth nerve inflammation is suspected, medications called Corticosteroids can be used to cure the disease. Until the nerve heals, wearing an eye patch can help to solve diplopia. Prism spectacles can also be employed in a few cases. If it remains unhealed after some time, a surgery called strabismus should be done. Botulinum toxin can also be used for temporary recovery, which weakens the inward pulling of the muscle.

In the case of a brain tumor, Sixth Nerve Palsy may not improve until surgery or chemotherapy, which removes the tumor or kill cancer cells. Recovering from Sixth Nerve Palsy due to trauma is merely impossible. If double vision has not improved naturally, options include wearing an eye patch over the affected eye would be the optimal way of curing Double vision. Henceforth, you experience a single binocular vision, and your eyes will be aligned properly.


Examination of the below mentioned may completely halt the occurrence of Sixth Nerve Palsy:

  • Brain scan to check for a brain tumor, skull fracture, or increased pressure in the brain.
  • Blood test  
  • Lumbar puncture to diagnose  
  • Rule out meningitis
  • Neurological tests to check the function of the nervous system.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top