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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia

Other Names for this Disease
  • CPEO
  • Progressive external ophthalmoplegia
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How might chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia be treated?

Ptosis caused by chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia (CPEO) can be corrected by surgery, or by using glasses that have a “ptosis crutch” to lift the upper eyelids.[1] Strabismus surgery can be helpful in carefully selected patients if diplopia (double vision) occurs.[2]

Some individuals with a deficiency of coenzyme Q10 have CPEO as an associated abnormality. Coenzyme Q10 is important for normal mitochondrial function. In individuals with this deficiency, supplemental coenzyme Q10 has been found to improve general neurologic function and exercise tolerance. However, coenzyme Q10 has not been shown to improve the ophthalmoplegia or ptosis in people who have isolated CPEO.[3]
Last updated: 10/10/2013

  1. Facts About Mitochondrial Myopathies . Muscular Dystrophy Association. 2008; Accessed 11/11/2009.
  2. Hampton, Roy. Chronic Progressive External Ophthalmoplegia. eMedicine. 2008; Accessed 11/11/2009.
  3. DiMauro, Salvatore, and Michio Hirano. Mitochondrial DNA Deletion Syndromes. GeneReviews. 2006;

Management Guidelines

  • GeneReviews provides a current, expert-authored, peer-reviewed, full-text article on mitochondrial disorders, including CPEO. GeneReview articles describe the application of genetic testing to the diagnosis, management, and genetic counseling of patients with specific inherited conditions.

Clinical Trials & Research for this Disease

  • The U.S. National Institutes of Health, through the National Library of Medicine, developed to provide patients, family members, and members of the public with current information on clinical research studies. There is a study titled Screening Study for the Evaluation and Diagnosis of Potential Research Participants which may be of interest to you. To find this trial, click on the link above.
  • The Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT) provides access to reports, data, and analyses of research activities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including information on NIH expenditures and the results of NIH-supported research. Although these projects may not conduct studies on humans, you may want to contact the investigators to learn more. To search for studies, click on the link and enter the disease name in the "Terms Search" box. Then click "Submit Query".