We collected data from a large series of patients with ocular palsies and compared them with data in previous series from the Mayo Clinic. The largest group of patients among 4,278 cases was that in which the cause was undetermined for a long period of follow-up. The abducens nerve was most commonly affected. The probability of establishing a diagnosis was higher in patients younger than 50 years and among those with associated neurologic findings or multiple ocular palsies. The prognosis for recovery was best in the vascular group but was better than 50% for all groups except those with tumors. Investigation may be tailored to each patient according to clinical findings and probabilities of finding a cause, and judicious clinical judgement should be exercised.