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Common cranial nerve examination questions for medical finals, OSCEs and MRCP PACES: trigeminal nerve (V)

Click on the the questions below to see the answers, or click here for questions about other cranial nerves and click here to learn how to examine the cranial nerves.


Question 1: 

What are the afferent and efferent branches of the Corneal reflex?

  • Afferent: Opthalmic branch of the Trigeminal (V1)
  • Efferent: Facial nerve (VII)
  • When the cornea is stimulated both eyes should close.
    • If both eyes do not close it suggests a V1 lesion on the tested side. If one side does not contract it suggests a VII lesion on the tested side.


Question 2: 

What are the sensory branches and motor functions of the Trigeminal nerve (V)?

  • Sensory
    • V1 = Opthalmic
    • V2 = Maxillary
    • V3 = Mandibulary
  • Motor function
    • Muscles of mastication (temporalis / masseter)


Click here for OSCE and PACES questions on the optic nerve (2nd) and click here for OSCE and PACES questions on the glossopharyngeal (9th), vagus (10th) and hypoglossal nerves (12th)

Click here for medical student finals, OSCE and MRCP PACES notes on the cranial nerve exam

How to perform the cranial nerve exam for  finals, OSCEs and PACES