Examination of Eye Movements

An examination of eye movements assesses normal function of the three cranial nerves and six muscles involved in eye movement.

If abnormal, it is important to consider both local and central problems, e.g.

  • Orbital cellulitis
  • Orbital blow-out fracture
  • Swelling
  • Cranial nerve palsy

Start by holding a pen torch approximately 30cm from the centre of the patient’s face and look for a symmetrical corneal light reflex, which indicates a central position of both eyes.

Trace either a rectangular box or an 'H' figure, moving the patient’s eyes to each corner.

The image shows the muscles involved in eye movements.