Weak eye muscle symptoms

Updated November 21, 2016

When a muscle in the eye is weak, it can make it difficult to move the eye smoothly. Eye muscle problems can be the result of several factors including Graves' disease, which is a thyroid condition that weakens the eye muscles. Graves' disease can result in vertical diplopia, where you see an image on top of another image. Another contributor to weak eye muscles is myasthenia gravis (MG), an autoimmune illness. This condition doesn't allow the stimulation of muscles by nerves inside the head.


The first symptoms of myasthenia gravis include drooping eyelids (ptosis) and double vision. With MG, the nerve endings that are supposed to emit a substance called acetylcholine that binds the muscle tissue at the nerve and muscle junction causing the muscle to move, stop working correctly. The communication between the muscle and the nerve is stopped before it can connect, resulting in weak eye muscles.

Correct Diagnosis Needed

If you are experiencing double vision, seek proper diagnosis and treatment because it may be the result of a weak eye muscle. If the muscles in the eye have been pinched and injured, surery can strengthen the weak eye muscle.

Eye Fatigue

Many people suffer from eye fatigue, particularly those who stare at a computer screen all day. This is called computer vision syndrome and is the result of tired eye muscles. When your eye muscles get tired, you experience eye strain which can cause dry eyes, headaches and blurry vision. Reducing computer screen glare and pausing to look away from the screen can help reduce the symptoms. Address any vision problems with corrective lenses.

Crossed or Wandering Eyes

The medical term for an individual who has crossed eyes or wandering eyes is strabismus. One or both eyes can turn up, in, down or out as a result. This happens when the brain isn't able to simultaneously coordinate both eyes, not by a weak eye muscle. The issue is neuromuscular, resulting from an error in the signal from the brain to the eye muscles that control alignment. Crossed eyes are the outcome of failed communication between the eye muscles and the brain so, essentially, this eye condition is a brain-based issue.

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About the Author

Cindi Pearce is a graduate of Ohio University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She completed both the undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature. Pearce has been writing professionally for over 30 years.