- A dictionary of medical eponyms

McCarthy's supraorbital reflex

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This is a blinking reflex that is present in a neonate. Percussion above arcus superciliaris (the supraorbital nerve) causes contraction of orbicularis palpebrarum with closure of lids unilaterally or bilaterally. Occurs in lesions above the facial nucleus. No response is elicited with lesions at or below the 7th nucleus. In abnormal babies the reflex may be produced by stimulation away from the supraorbital region e.g. tapping over the skull vertex.


  • W. Overend:
    Preliminary note on a new cranial reflex. The Lancet, 1896, 1: 619.
  • D. J. McCarthy:
    Der Supraorbitalreflex. Neurologisches Centralblatt, Leipzig, 1901, 20: 800. Weiteres zur Kenntnis des Supraorbitalreflexes.
    Neurologisches Centralblatt, Leipzig, 1902, 21: 843. Se also Bekhterev's Reflex of eye, under Vladimir Mikhaylovich Bekhterev, Russian neurologist and psychiatrist, 1857-1927.

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