Acquired abducens nerve palsy secondary to tuberculosis

Optometry. 2009 Oct;80(10):567-71. doi: 10.1016/j.optm.2009.02.012.


Background: Tuberculosis is a serious, and unfortunately common, infectious disease caused by the organism Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The incidence, mortality, and physical/ophthalmologic effects are well documented. Although most common ophthalmologic findings include optic neuropathy and uveitis, cranial nerve palsies may also present secondary to intracranial inflammation.

Case report: A 17-year-old Somalian girl was referred to the eye clinic with the chief concern of intermittent diplopia and headaches. Although monocular visual acuity was excellent, ocular positioning tests confirmed a subtle abduction deficit of the right eye. Medical history was remarkable for active tuberculosis.

Conclusion: Tuberculosis is a mediating factor for abducens nerve palsy in children. Understanding the relationship between the disease process and ocular ramifications is imperative for competent management.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Abducens Nerve Diseases / etiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Diplopia / etiology*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Headache / etiology
  • Humans
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Tuberculosis, Ocular / complications*
  • Tuberculosis, Ocular / diagnostic imaging
  • Tuberculosis, Ocular / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / complications*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / diagnostic imaging
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / drug therapy


  • Antitubercular Agents