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Brain & Nervous System Health Center

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Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy

It is possible that the main title of the report Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • OPMD
  • autosomal dominant OPMD
  • autosomal recessive OPMD

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD) is a rare genetic muscle disorder with onset during adulthood most often between 40 and 60 years of age. OPMD is characterized by slowly progressive muscle disease (myopathy) affecting the muscles of the upper eyelids and the throat. Affected individuals may develop drooping of the eyelids (ptosis), trouble moving their eyes (ophthalmoplegia) and/or difficulty swallowing (dysphagia). Double vision (diplopia) is uncommon. Eventually, additional muscles may become involved including those of the upper legs and arms (proximal limb weakness). In some cases, muscle weakness of the legs may eventually cause difficulty walking. OPMD may be inherited as an autosomal dominant or recessive trait.

OPMD belongs to a group of rare genetic muscle disorders known as the muscular dystrophies. These disorders are characterized by weakness and atrophy of various voluntary muscles of the body. Approximately 30 different disorders make up the muscular dystrophies. The disorders affect different muscles and have different ages of onset, severity and inheritance patterns. Unlike OPMD, most forms of muscular dystrophy have onset during childhood or adolescence.


March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
Tel: (914)997-4488
Fax: (914)997-4763
Tel: (888)663-4637

Muscular Dystrophy Association
3300 East Sunrise Drive
Tucson, AZ 85718-3208
Tel: (520)529-2000
Fax: (520)529-5300
Tel: (800)572-1717

Muscular Dystrophy Campaign
61 Southwark Street
London, SE1 0HL
United Kingdom
Tel: 02078034800

NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
Tel: (301)496-5751
Fax: (301)402-2186
Tel: (800)352-9424
TDD: (301)468-5981

Society for Muscular Dystrophy Information International
P.O. Box 7490
Nova Scotia, B4V 2X6
Tel: 9026853961
Fax: 9026853962

European Alliance of Neuromuscular Disorders Associations
MDG Malta 4
Gzira Road
Gzira, GAR 04
Tel: 0035621346688
Fax: 0035621318024

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223

For a Complete Report:

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated: 11/6/2012
Copyright 2007, 2012 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

Last Updated: 8/, 015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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