Duane Syndrome is a strabismus disorder defined medically by congenital non-progressive restricted horizontal eye movement coupled with globe retraction, resulting in palpebral fissure constriction. It is caused by the absence or malfunction of the sixth cranial nerve.

The sixth cranial is a nerve that develops in the brain and regulates one of the muscles responsible for moving the eye laterally. Women seem to be more susceptible to Duane syndrome than men. In addition, the left eye is more usually afflicted than the right, and only around 10% of this disease is hereditary.


Duane syndrome is categorized into three types:

  • Type1. Your capacity to move your eye to your ear is restricted. Also, it is typical or almost normal for you to move your eye toward your nose.
  • Type2. Your capacity to move your eye toward your nose is restricted. You can move your eye toward your ear normally or with minor restrictions.
  • Type3. Your capacity to move your eyes horizontally in either direction is limited.


Most Duane syndrome cases are differentiated only by the above-mentioned limited eye movement. Other symptoms are uncommon in individuals, but in rare cases, the disease has been associated to:

  • Nervous system malfunctions
  • Kidney issues
  • Skeletal deformities
  • Loss of hearing

If symptoms do appear, several individuals may experience the following:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Vision problems
  • Double vision
  • A skewed head that turns to one side
  • Crossing or misalignment of the eyes
  • The need to close one eye to improve vision
  • Eyelid narrowing
  • Squinted or misaligned eye


To diagnose Duane Syndrome, your eye specialist may perform the following:

  • Eye Muscle Electromyography. It may show a range of lateral rectus muscle activity, from outward to inward eye movement.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the brainstem. It may indicate a tiny or nonexistent abducent nerve nucleus and nerve, trochlear nerves, oculomotor, and poorly developed optic.


The goal of therapy is to eliminate squinting, avoid or lessen aberrant head posture, and prevent vision loss in the afflicted eye. Furthermore, most individuals with Duane Syndrome do not need any therapy. However, they must be checked for eyesight by an eye doctor regularly. 

The eye specialist may require:

  • Eyeglasses to ensure optimal vision;
  • Fresnel prisms that are attached to eyeglasses to prevent aberrant head posture; and
  • Eye patch over the normal eye to prevent the eye from becoming lazy and causing vision problems.

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