Ocular motor abnormalities in ataxia telangiectasia

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Although abnormal eye movements are a prominent feature of ataxia telangiectasia, the characteristics of the oculomotor dysfunction in the disease have been reported only in small groups of patients. We have examined eye movements clinically in 56 patients with ataxia telangiectasia, and obtained electrooculographic recordings of eye movements in 33 subjects. Deficits were observed in the eye movement systems that stabilize images on the retina, including pursuit, gaze holding, convergence, vestibular and optokinetic slow phases, and cancellation of vestibular slow phases. Abnormalities in the systems that maintain fixation and shift gaze were also prominent, including abnormal reflexive and voluntary saccades (characterized by prolonged latency, hypometric amplitude, and the use of head movements to initiate gaze shifts), impaired fixation, and a reduction in vestibular and optokinetic quick phases. The abnormalities in image stabilization most likely result from dysfunction in the cerebellar flocculus and paraflocculus. The basis of the saccadic and fixation disturbance is less certain but may be the result of abnormal supranuclear control of the superior colliculus resulting from dysfunction in the cerebellar vermis or the basal ganglia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-295
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 13 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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