Carrick Institute

Observing Eye Movements

Carrick Insight: Did you know that observing eye movements gives clinicians insight into cortical and brainstem function?

Here are some rules to remember when looking at eye muscles 👁:

  1.  If the eyes are abducted, the rectus muscles are primarily responsible for looking up and down. If they are adducted, the obliques take over as the primary movers.
  2.  If the muscle begins with “inferior”, it is an extorter. If the muscle begins with “superior”, it is an intorter.
  3.  If the muscle begins with “superior”, it is innervated by the brainstem on the OPPOSITE side. If the muscle begins with “inferior” or is a lateral/medial rectus muscle, it is innervated by the brainstem on the SAME side.

⚠️ BONUS QUIZ! Where in the brainstem are each of the cranial nerve nuclei located for eye muscles?

This information and much more are covered in our Clinical Neuroscience Program. For more information, click here.

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