September 1981

Optokinetic Nystagmus and Pursuit Eye Movements in Schizophrenia

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, and the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston (Drs Latham and Manschreck); the Department of Psychology and Social Relations and the Mailman Research Center, McLean Hospital, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass (Dr Holzman); and the Biomedical Engineering Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass (Dr Tole).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1981;38(9):997-1003. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1981.01780340049006

• This study of two types of optokinetic nystagmus (OKN) provides evidence that previously reported pursuit impairments in schizophrenics may be due to a cortical dysfunction. Differences in responses to partial-field and full-field OKN stimuli strongly support the hypothesis that there are two functionally distinct but anatomically overlapping mechanisms that can produce nystagmus responses. Partial-field OKN is composed of alternating phases of pursuit and saccadic movements. The slow phases of partial-field OKN, like pursuit eye movements, are of significantly poorer quality in schizophrenics compared with normal controls. Full-field OKN, however, is intact in both groups. Partial-field OKN is an improved test for pursuit abnormalities that reflect disturbances of nonvoluntary attention.