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August 1978

Internuclear Ophthalmoplegia: I. Saccades and Dissociated Nystagmus

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, Reed Neurological Research Center (Dr Baloh); Department of Ophthalmology, Jules Stein Eye Institute (Dr Yee); and Division of Head and Neck Surgery (Dr Honrubia); UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles.

Arch Neurol. 1978;35(8):484-489. doi:10.1001/archneur.1978.00500320004002

• Saccades (horizontal and vertical) and dissociated nystagmus were quantitatively assessed in four patients with internuclear ophthalmoplegia. Two patients had bilateral medial longitudinal fasciculus (MLF) lesions associated with multiple sclerosis and two had unilateral lesions associated with brain stem vascular disease.

Adducting saccades made on the side of an MLF lesion were slowed in each patient (P <.01). At the same time, abducting saccades in the contralateral eye had normal velocity, but consistently overshot the target. After the overshoot, the eye returned to the target with an exponentially decaying course. With large angular deviations (usually more than 15°), the abducting eye developed nystagmus characterized by slow components that moved toward the midposition with an initially high velocity followed by a segment of slower velocity. The adducting eye had either no nystagmus or a low-amplitude nystagmus characterized by a rounded junction between the fast and slow component. The saccade abnormalities and waveform of the dissociated nystagmus can be explained by a pulsestep mismatch at the agonist motoneurons.

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