Ocular Motility Disturbances

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Houston Methodist is home to board-certified doctors who specialize in the treatment of complex eye conditions affecting eye movement and vision. Our expert team offers the full spectrum of care options and a personalized approach to care for patients of all ages.  

Ocular motility (eye movement) is controlled by a group of muscles that work together to direct your gaze. A variety of conditions and health issues can cause these muscles to work improperly, resulting in vision issues and other troubling symptoms. 

Drawing on decades of experience and skill, our caring team can diagnose your condition and create a personalized treatment plan that works for you and your family. 

Diagnosing & Treating Ocular Motility Disturbances

How are ocular motility disturbances diagnosed?

Understanding your symptoms and determining the exact cause of your vision problem is the job of our experienced neuro-ophthalmologists — doctors who specialize in neurological conditions that affect vision.

Symptoms of ocular motility conditions include: 


  • Balance or coordination problems
  • Double vision
  • Fast, repetitive, uncontrollable eye movements
  • Misaligned eyes (crossed eyes or eyes not pointing in the same direction)
  • Poor vision in one eye
  • Problems with depth perception


Ocular motility issues can be caused by the brain, optic nerve, eye muscles, the eye itself or another underlying condition. It can cause low vision, double vision, eye misalignment and other problems. 

There are many types of ocular motility disturbances: 


  • Strabismus – a condition where eyes are not pointing in the same direction. This relatively common condition is seen in children and may be present at birth. However, strabismus in adults may occur after a brain injury (including stroke and traumatic brain injury) or injury to the eye itself, as well as other diseases or conditions such as diabetes, Graves’ disease or Guillain-Barré syndrome. Symptoms may include eyes that do not point in the same direction, crossed eyes, double vision and poor depth perception.
  • Amblyopia – a condition in which your brain fails to process the information from one of your eyes. It starts in childhood and is the most common cause of vision loss in children. Sometimes called a lazy eye, this may occur because one of your eyes is misaligned (strabismus) and incorporating that information would cause double vision. It may also occur if one of your eyes has much better vision than the other, and the brain chooses the clearer image. 
  • Nystagmus – sometimes called dancing eyes, nystagmus is characterized by fast, uncontrollable eye movements. This may be present at birth. In adults, it may be caused by damage to brain tissue from stroke, trauma or infection; medications; excess alcohol intake; vitamin deficiency; or neurological conditions, such as brain tumors or multiple sclerosis (MS).


Our experienced doctors provide a comprehensive eye exam, including special eye tests, to determine the source of your symptoms and to determine the best course of action.

What treatments are available?

At Houston Methodist, effective treatment for ocular motility issues starts with an accurate diagnosis. It’s extremely beneficial to catch vision and eye problems as early as possible. This is especially true for children, as early intervention gives them the greatest chance of developing unimpaired vision. 

Treatment for ocular motility conditions vary based on the diagnosis and the individual. That’s why our specialists create an individualized plan based on your unique needs. Your care plan may include: 


  • Correcting basic vision problems, such as near- or far-sightedness, with glasses or contact lenses 
  • Eye-muscle exercises to strengthen weak muscles
  • Eye patches or drops in the stronger eye to help the weaker eye get stronger
  • Surgery 
  • Treatment of any underlying trauma or disorder


There are no specific treatments for nystagmus, although spontaneous recovery may occur if the underlying causes resolve.

I need advanced care or a second opinion.

Whether you are looking to get to the bottom of your issues or would like to talk with someone about a second opinion, we are here to help. Houston Methodist’s neuro-ophthalmologists will diagnose your condition and design a personalized treatment plan to reduce the impact of your symptoms and improve your vision and emotional well-being.

Learn More About Neuro-Ophthalmologic Conditions 

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Emmi, our collection of multimedia educational tools, can help you understand your condition and its treatments.

Our physicians at Houston Methodist specialize in neuro-ophthalmological disorders at the following convenient locations

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