What are ocular complications of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS)?

Updated: May 16, 2018
  • Author: Glen L Xiong, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

Patients who recover generally do so in a particular sequence. Improvement of ocular abnormalities is the earliest and most dramatic, usually occurring within hours of the initial thiamine dose. Failure of ocular abnormalities to respond to thiamine in this manner should raise doubt as to the veracity of the diagnosis.

Vertical nystagmus may persist for months. Fine horizontal nystagmus may persist indefinitely in as many as 60% of patients, but patients completely recover from sixth nerve palsies, ptosis, and vertical-gaze palsies.


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