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corneal reflex

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The corneal reflex that is dependent on the integrity of the Vth and the VIIth cranial nerves.


  • distract the patient by asking them to gaze upwards.
  • lightly touch the cornea with a wisp of cotton wool, bringing the wool from the side of the eye.

Interpretation of results:

  • reflex blinking of both eyes - normal
  • patient can feel the touch of the cotton wool - via the ophthalamic division of the trigeminal nerve - but there is no reflex blink - via facial nerve innervation of orbicularis oculi muscles. This indicates facial nerve palsy.
  • unable to feel touch of cotton wool - indicates trigeminal nerve palsy.


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