What Is the Function of the Abducens Nerve?

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The abducens nerve is the sixth cranial nerve. Its main function is to control the lateral rectus muscle of both eyes. By innervating the lateral rectus muscle, the abducens nerve helps move the pupil of the eye, according to Healthline.

The abducens nerve is a somatic efferent nerve that leads the brainstem near the pons and the medulla. It runs medial to the facial nerve and enters the subarachnoid space of the spine once it exits the brainstem. It then travels back upwards towards the eye socket in order to wrap around the eye and innervate the lateral rectus muscle. The abducens nerve's long journey to the eye makes it very vulnerable to injury and damage.