Can ALS affect eyesight?

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Active member
Oct 7, 2006
Can ALS affect the eyes? All I have left to communicate with are my eyes. I have never heard of there being any problems associated with ALS and eye diseases or loss of sight. What about the muscles that control the eyes?
Can anybody answer this question?
The motor neurons that supply the muscles of the eye are particularly resistant to damage and so eye movement is not affected in ALS. I believe that although Stephen Hawking has had the disease for many decades, his eye movements are still ok and by using them he is still able to communicate.
Hope that reassures you!
I've read and heard similar things on this side of the pond. Now Brentt I have heard that if you spent a lot of time as a young boy in the bathroom with the Sears catalogue THAT might affect your eyesight. Personally, I stopped when I needed glasses. LOL.
By the way Brentt. I'm not making fun of your question but life in general and with Peter Griffin as an avatar I figured you had a sense of humor.
While doing some research on timing I came across this:

This ‘dying forward’ hypothesis was based predominantly on the clinical observations that the oculomotor, abducens and Onuf’s motor nuclei, all lacking direct corticomotoneuron connections, were spared in MND.

It's part of a larger article that can be found at:

The oculomotor nerve is the third of twelve paired cranial nerves. It controls most of the eye movements (cranial nerves IV and VI also do some), constriction of the pupil, and holding the eyelid open.

The above is from Wikipedia. If all the above is correct the eyes are safe.
We've had a few PALS here who complained of double vision. Could it have been due to something other than MND?
Hey there Al, thanks for the funny. I got a kick out of that. And I live to laugh. It's the best medicine of all. I think Laughfters Best Medicine, from Readers Digest and Paul Harvy were 2 of the best things I have enjoyed in this life.
And thanks for the link Jeff. You too Cindy. I appreciate all of your help.
As my eyes are all I really have left to communicate with, I tend to be over protective of them. After searching the web I see that there is a possability that a small percentage of pals can develope issues.
I guess learning to talk with my ears would be the next step. lol
I guess that wouldn't be so strange as I do all my talking with my eyes now.
Thanks again folks. Brentt
Just visited the Doctor this week and mentioned that I was having trouble with eyes jumping some times, to the point that I could not see a traffic light. He said it was a side effect of some of the medications I have been on for a long time due to chronic low back pain from nerve damage. He also said it was NOT caused by the ALS. Whew. Good to know, I guess.

God Bless
Capt AL
Have you considered med side effects

Many of the medications that they prescribe for us (Rilutek, Baclofen, etc) can have side effects that include changes in visual acuity. Perhaps you can look up (Google) your specific meds and then see if the visual changes correlate to the times that you take any meds. Indeed, simple antihistamines can result in some short term changes in acuity. Also, remember to ask your pharmacist.

I hope this is helpful,
My mother's eyesight seems to be affected, though whether its her illness, I'm not sure. The muscles in the back seem to be weakening so that a column in a newspaper, for example, can cross over another one. She's been prescribed with glasses with 'prisms' in to help.

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