Convergence retraction nystagmus: a disorder of vergence?

Ann Neurol. 2001 Nov;50(5):677-81. doi: 10.1002/ana.1263.


The pathological mechanism of convergence retraction nystagmus (CRN) is not known. To determine whether CRN is a disorder of vergence or of the saccadic system, the scleral search coil technique was used to record binocularly the three-dimensional components of CRN in a patient with a left mesencephalic infarction involving the nucleus of the posterior commissure and the rostral interstitial nucleus of the medial longitudinal fascicle. CRN had disconjugate horizontal and torsional components. The horizontal amplitude/velocity relationship of CRN aligned with the main sequence of vergence responses of normal control subjects but not with that of saccades. Vergence responses of the right eye and left eye were not asynchronous. The slow phases of CRN showed an exponential decay with a time constant of 70 milliseconds. Thus, CRN is probably a disorder of vergence rather than of opposing adducting saccades.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cerebral Infarction / complications
  • Cerebral Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Cerebral Infarction / physiopathology
  • Diplopia / diagnosis
  • Diplopia / etiology
  • Diplopia / physiopathology
  • Fixation, Ocular
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Mesencephalon / blood supply
  • Mesencephalon / pathology
  • Mesencephalon / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nystagmus, Pathologic / classification
  • Nystagmus, Pathologic / diagnosis*
  • Nystagmus, Pathologic / etiology
  • Nystagmus, Pathologic / physiopathology*
  • Reaction Time
  • Saccades