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April 16, 1910


Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1910;LIV(16):1277-1281. doi:10.1001/jama.1910.92550420001001

The importance of examining the eyes of tabetics has long been recognized by neurologists, for the ocular symptoms often precede all other sure signs. Indeed, so constant and characteristic are the pupillary, muscular and optic-nerve changes in this disease that, given in addition to even one of these, the history of previous syphilitic infection and another characteristic sign of tabes, such as loss of knee-jerks, diminution in muscle tonus of the legs, or a marked disturbance of the bladder or sexual functions, the diagnosis of tabes becomes very probable. It is not the purpose of this paper, however, to treat of the ocular symptomatology of tabes in general, but to dwell particularly on the palsies of eye muscles, and especially of the extra-ocular muscles, which are observed so frequently at some stage or other of the disease.

In attempting a generalization of the extra-ocular palsies, it may be remarked that, while they resemble in many particulars