Overview Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD)

Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD) refers to a genetic condition that causes muscle weakness in a characteristic pattern.

 It is useful to explain the words that make up OPMD:

  • oculo refers to the fact that the eye muscles (specifically the eyelids) are affected, causing eyelid drooping – also called ‘ptosis’
  • pharyngeal refers to the fact that the throat muscles, in particular those related to swallowing, are affected. Difficulty in swallowing is called dysphagia
  • muscular dystrophy is a term which usually means the condition is genetic, and causes progressive muscle-wasting and weakness, both of which are true in OPMD.
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