Dissociated vertical divergence: a righting reflex gone wrong

Arch Ophthalmol. 1999 Sep;117(9):1216-22. doi: 10.1001/archopht.117.9.1216.


Dissociated vertical divergence (DVD) is an ocular motor disorder characterized by a slow, upward drift of 1 eye when the other eye is fixating a target. I propose that DVD is a dorsal light reflex in which asymmetrical visual input to the 2 eyes evokes a vertical divergence movement of the eyes. This primitive visuo-vestibular reflex functions as a righting response to restore vertical orientation in lower lateral-eyed animals by equalizing binocular visual input. The dorsal light reflex is suppressed in humans but can manifest as DVD when early-onset strabismus precludes normal binocular development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Eye Movements
  • Humans
  • Light
  • Ocular Motility Disorders / etiology*
  • Ocular Motility Disorders / physiopathology
  • Oculomotor Muscles / physiopathology
  • Reflex, Abnormal*
  • Reflex, Pupillary*
  • Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular / physiology
  • Vision Disparity / physiology
  • Vision, Binocular / physiology