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Rev Neurol. 2012 Jun 16;54(12):729-33.

[Tolosa-Hunt syndrome following traumatic eye injury].

[Article in Spanish]

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Hospital Infanta Elena, Huelva, Spain.



Tolosa-Hunt syndrome (THS) is an idiopathic condition involving unilateral eye pain with involvement of oculomotor nerves which responds well to treatment with steroids. It is produced by idiopathic granulomatous inflammation of the cavernous sinus or the orbital apex.


A 37-year-old male who was admitted to hospital due to a six-week history of blurred vision and pain in the left eye, which was later accompanied by full ipsilateral ophthalmoplegia. Some days prior to the onset of the clinical features, he suffered an accident which resulted in traumatic injury to the left eye. An examination showed data pointing to optic neuropathy in the left eye with complete extrinsic ocular motor palsy. Results of general analyses and lumbar puncture were normal. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the head revealed a thickening of the wall of the left cavernous sinus and of the ipsilateral orbital apex, which enhanced with gadolinium. Evoked potential studies showed axonal and demyelinating optic neuropathy on the left-hand side. Suspecting this to be a case of THS, treatment was established with high doses of corticoids, which brought about an improvement in the pain and eye movement but not in the blurred vision. A MRI control scan showed a clear improvement in comparison to the one carried out initially.


In cases of painful ophthalmoplegia, the professional should suspect the existence of THS. If the apex of the orbit is affected through the superior orbital fissure, the optic nerve may be damaged. Traumatic injury can be one of the situations that trigger THS.

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