Painful ophthalmoplegia is an important presenting complaint to emergency departments, ophthalmologists, and neurologists. The etiological differential diagnosis of painful ophthalmoplegia is extensive and consists of numerous sinister etiologies including vascular (eg, aneurysm, carotid dissection, carotid-cavernous fistula), neoplasms (eg, primary intracranial tumors, local or distant metastases), inflammatory conditions (eg, orbital pseudotumor, sarcoidosis, Tolosa-Hunt syndrome), infectious etiologies (eg, fungal, mycobacterial), and other conditions (eg, microvascular infarcts secondary to diabetes, ophthalmoplegic migraine, giant cell arteritis). A systematic approach to the evaluation of painful ophthalmoplegia can lead to prompt recognition of serious disorders that if left untreated, can be associated with significant morbidity or mortality. Inflammatory conditions such as Tolosa-Hunt syndrome and orbital pseudotumor are highly responsive to corticosteroids, but should be diagnoses of exclusion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine