Which nerve inflammation can affect vision other than the optical nerve itself? Can a nerve inflammation affect vision?

  • The oculomotor nerve (III), trochlear nerve (IV) and abducens nerve (VI), which innervate the eye muscles. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cranial_nerves and the nerves that innervate the ciliary muscles (that control the lens) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ciliary_muscle .
    – Jan
    Apr 29, 2019 at 12:54
  • 1
    Welcome to MedicalSciences.SE! Please take the tour and read the help center. For reasons mentioned in this post and in How to Ask, we require prior research information when asking questions. See this list of helpful resources. Please help us to help you and edit your question to provide more information on what you have read on this subject, what made you ask this question, and any problems you are having understanding your research. If you found nothing, what did you Google?
    – Carey Gregory
    Apr 29, 2019 at 14:06
  • 1
    @Jan - That has enough information and references to make it a good answer.
    – JohnP
    Apr 29, 2019 at 20:07
  • Hi all, thank you Jan, that seems a good point to start from. Carey, I did some research about the optical nerve and then about chinese meridians, I am looking for other nerves that can affect vision other than the cranial ones, from other parts of the body. I am sorry if I didn't respect the guidelines I am used to stack overflow where you are guided in the question form and I thought here there wasn't a strict structure. The punishing -1 is not inviting, though. Also, how can I upvote Jan answer?
    – AMDP
    Apr 29, 2019 at 21:30
  • PS: I know chinese meridians are NOT nerves. I saw many pages about the nervous system and structure but I didn't find correlations able to provide info about my question. I also googled on google scholar eye impairment due to nerve inflammation or something similar.
    – AMDP
    Apr 29, 2019 at 21:32

1 Answer 1


The vision can be sharp when the light is focused exactly on the retina, not in front or behind it. This is enabled by the constant eye bulb length and the ability of the lens to accommodate to near or far objects.

Three cranial nerves that innervate the extraocular muscles and thus the shape of the eye bulb include the oculomotor nerve (n. III), trochlear nerve (n. IV) and abducens nerve (n. VI) (Wikipedia). Additional nerves innervate the ciliary muscles, which control the lens (Wikipedia).

The optic nerve (n. V) conveys visual stimuli from the retina to the brain (Wikipedia). Inflammation of this nerve (optic neuritis) can affect vision (Mayo Clinic). Other mentioned nerves are not typically affected by inflammation, but more likely by other disorders of the nerves or brain, such as multiple sclerosis or stroke. Anyway, nerve function impairment, from whatever cause, is often called palsy, for example, oculomotor nerve palsy.

By far most common causes of impaired vision are changes in the eye bulb length (nearsightedness) and age-related rigidity of the lens (farsightedness), which are usually not associated with the nerves. Then there are various disorders of the lens (e.g. cataracts), eye chambers (e.g. glaucoma), retina and circulation (e.g. diabetes). Wikipedia has a long list of causes of visual impairment. There's a simple to read description of neurological causes of visual impairment on Healio and there's one study about this on PubMed.

  • I liked your answer Jan, it won't be shown, but I did :)
    – AMDP
    Apr 30, 2019 at 7:14
  • OK, I wanted to say, it's a bigger picture than just nerve inflammation. Still, if you want to focus on that, you may use the term "nerve palsy" instead of inflammation when searching for more information.
    – Jan
    Apr 30, 2019 at 7:16
  • I was just looking for that in facts :)
    – AMDP
    Apr 30, 2019 at 7:33
  • Thanks Jan, the oculomotor nerve palsy was what I was looking for.
    – AMDP
    May 1, 2019 at 10:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.