Skew deviation and inferior oblique palsy

Sean P. Donahue, Patrick J.M. Lavin, Brian Mohney, Latif Hamed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To describe ocular motility and neuro-ophthalmologic findings in six patients with an ocular tilt reaction (OTR) that mimicked an inferior oblique palsy (IOP).DESIGN: Observational Case Series. METHODS: Series of six patients presenting to tertiary care pediatric or neuro-ophthalmologist. RESULTS: Five patients had ocular motility and three-step test results suggesting an IOP; one patient had a suspected bilateral IOP. All six patients had excyclotorsion of the hypotropic eye, and four had incyclotorsion of the hypertropic eye. This is contrary to that expected with an IOP (incyclotorsion of the hypotropic eye). In addition, all six patients had other neurologic findings in the history or examination that were associated with neurologic insult rather than an isolated IOP. Two patients had surgery consisting of a superior rectus recession; this was successful in eliminating diplopia in both patients and in eliminating the vertical deviation and head posturing in one patient. CONCLUSION: While many vertical deviations that appear to be due to an inferior oblique palsy based on the results of the three-step test may be caused by inferior oblique weakness, skew deviation should also be considered in any patient with a history of head trauma, or other neurologic findings. The cyclotorsion observed in IOP is opposite that seen with OTR, and differentiates the two entities clinically. We postulate that these deviations are caused by damage to the otolithic projections that correspond to those from the ipsilateral posterior semicircular canal (on the side of the hypotropic eye).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-756
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of ophthalmology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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