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Definition of Nerve, oculomotor

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

Nerve, oculomotor: The oculomotor nerve is the third cranial nerve. (The cranial nerves emerge from or enter the cranium, the skull, as opposed to the spinal nerves which emerge from the vertebral column).

The oculomotor nerve is responsible for the nerve supply to muscles about the eye:

  • The upper eyelid muscle which raises the eyelid;
  • The extraocular muscle which moves the eye inward; and
  • The pupillary muscle which constricts the pupil.

Paralysis of the oculomotor nerve results in drooping eyelid (ptosis), deviation of the eyeball outward (and therefore double vision) and a dilated (wide-open) pupil.

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