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Ophthalmoplegic Migraine

Bek, Semai MD; Genc, Gencer MD; Demirkaya, Seref MD; Eroglu, Erdal MD; Odabasi, Zeki MD

doi: 10.1097/NRL.0b013e3181870408
Clinical Report

Introduction: According to the International Headache Society, ophthalmoplegic migraine is recurrent attacks of headache with migrainous characteristics associated with paresis of one or more ocular cranial nerves (commonly the third nerve) in the absence of any demonstrable intracranial lesion. We report a patient with typical clinical features of ophthalmoplegic migraine.

Case Report: A 21-year-old man had right frontal throbbing headaches recurring twice a year. His headache lasted for 1 to 5 days and was followed by slight drooping of his eyelid and double vision that lasted for approximately 3 months. On examination he had ptosis and adduction paralysis of the right eye. Brain MRI revealed a thickened, enhancing right oculomotor nerve. He was treated with methylprednisolone 1000 mg/d IV for 5 days. Only 2 weeks later, clinical improvement was observed and 3 months later the oculomotor nerve enhancement resolved.

Conclusion: Ophthalmoplegic migraine has been considered to have a microvascular, ischemic etiology, but more recently it has been reclassified as a demyelinating condition affecting the oculomotor. To our knowledge, this is the first ophthalmoplegic migraine case presented pretreatment and post-treatment with clinical photographic documentation and an MRI showing enduring thickening of the oculomotor nerve although symptoms and contrast enhancement resolved.

From the Gulhane Medical Faculty, Department of Neurology, Etlik, Ankara, Turkey.

Reprints: Dr. Semai BEK, Gulhane Medical Faculty, Department of Neurology, Etlik, Ankara, Turkey 06018. E-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.