Diseases Home > Treatment Options for Ocular Myasthenia Gravis

Treatment Options

Symptoms of ocular myasthenia gravis can be controlled. The goals of treatment are to improve symptoms while minimizing side effects and possible risks. Treatment options for ocular myasthenia gravis may include:
  • Medications
  • Thymectomy
  • Assistive devices.
Medications that are used for the treatment of ocular myasthenia gravis include anticholinesterase agents such as neostigmine and pyridostigmine, which help improve neuromuscular transmission and increase muscle strength. Immunosuppressive drugs such as prednisone, cyclosporine, and azathioprine may also be used for the treatment of ocular myasthenia. Ocular myasthenia gravis medications are used as treatment to improve muscle strength by suppressing the production of abnormal antibodies. However, it is important to note that these medications must be used with careful medical follow-up because they may cause major side effects, especially in children.
Thymectomy is the surgical removal of the thymus gland, which is often abnormal in myasthenia gravis patients. A thymectomy may:
  • Improve symptoms
  • Cure ocular myasthenia gravis
  • Re-balance the immune system.
However, a thymectomy is usually only recommended for patients with severe ocular myasthenia gravis.
Assistive Devices
Doctors may recommend assistive devices for people with mild or moderate symptoms of ocular myasthenia gravis. Assistive devices include:
  • Eyelid crutches, which are devices that attach to glasses to keep eyelids open. Eyelid crutches are helpful for patients with significant eyelid droop that does not respond to medicine and for patients who want to avoid surgery.
  • Eyelid tape, which mechanically keeps eyelids open. Eyelid tape is helpful for patients with significant eyelid droop that does not respond to medicine and for patients who want to avoid surgery.
  • Eyeglass prisms, which are a simple, safe, solution for certain types of double vision. Eyeglass prisms can be extremely helpful for individuals that require binocular vision for their livelihood.
  • An eye patch to one eye, which eliminates double vision. An eye patch is a safe way to eliminate double vision for people who do not require binocular vision for their livelihood. People should rotate the eye patch because using it on the same eye can cause reduced vision over time in the uncovered eye.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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