Purpose: Cranial nerve palsies often require neurological imaging by MRI. Guidelines on whether or not to utilize MRI have been absent or lack clarity. In daily practice, both neurologists and ophthalmologists treat patients with cranial nerve palsy and determine whether neuro-imaging is required. There appear to be differences in policy with respect to neuro-imaging. The question, which will be answered in this study, is the following: to what extent do differences in policy exist between ophthalmologists and neurologists regarding imaging by MRI of patients with acquired ocular cranial nerve palsy? Method: PubMed database was searched for literature on acquired cranial nerve palsy and MRI scanning performed by ophthalmologists and neurologists. Case series published between 2000 and 2015 were included. The first author screened the literature on eligibility, profession of the authors, and conducted data abstraction. Result: Ten case series were found eligible for analysis. A total of 889 cranial nerve palsies were described, 770 by ophthalmologists and 119 by neurologists. The age range of patients in all case series was 2 to 96 years of age. The oculomotor nerve was investigated in 162 patients, the trochlear nerve in 131 patients, and the abducens nerve in 486 patients. All neurologists (n=3) and 2 out of 7 investigated ophthalmologists recommended performing MRI scanning in every patient who presented with an ocular cranial nerve palsy, while 5 ophthalmologists (5/7) opted to triage patients for risk factors associated with cranial nerve palsies prior to ordering MRI imaging. When different groups of patients were viewed separately, it became apparent that almost all specialists agreed that every patient with a third nerve palsy and patients under 50 years of age should undergo MRI scanning. In patients with fourth nerve palsy, MRI scanning was not indicated. Conclusion: The neurologists in this study were more likely to perform MRI scanning in every patient presenting with ocular cranial nerve palsy. Ophthalmologists were more likely to determine risk factors associated with cranial nerve palsy, which they took into account when deciding whether or not to perform neurological imaging in patients aged more than 50 years or presenting with abducens nerve palsy.

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doi.org/10.1080/09273972.2017.1349815, hdl.handle.net/1765/101051
Strabismus (London)
Department of Ophthalmology

Klein Hesselink, T. (Tessa), Gutter, M., & Polling, J. R. (2017). Neurological Imaging in Acquired Cranial Nerve Palsy: Ophthalmologists vs. Neurologists. Strabismus (London), 1–6. doi:10.1080/09273972.2017.1349815