Purpose: To investigate vertical and torsional eye motion during and immediately after vertical saccades with acute acquired superior oblique palsy (SOP) in monkeys.
Methods: The trochlear nerve was severed intracranially in two rhesus monkeys. After surgery, the paretic eye was patched for 6 to 9 days, and then binocular viewing was allowed. Three-axis eye movements (horizontal, vertical, and torsion) were measured with binocular, dual search coils. Eye movements were recorded before surgery and then beginning 2 to 3 days after surgery during 20 degrees vertical saccades over a +/-20 degrees horizontal and vertical range.
Results: The main findings were: (1) Saccade amplitude in the paretic eye (PE) was smaller than that of the normal eye (NE), especially for downward saccades with the PE in adduction; (2) vertical drift was backward after upward saccades with the PE in adduction or abduction, onward after downward saccades with the PE in adduction, but backward for downward saccades with the PE in abduction, drift time constants averaged 35 ms; (3) peak dynamic blip intrasaccadic torsion increased (relative extorsion), the most for upward saccades with the PE in abduction; (4) postsaccadic torsional drift increased (relative intorsion), the most for downward saccades with the PE in adduction; and (5) the peak velocity-amplitude relationship in vertical saccades was little affected, but the ratio between the peak velocity of the two eyes was a consistent indicator of the palsy.
Conclusions: Rhesus monkeys with acute acquired SOP show characteristic changes in vertical and torsional movements during and immediately after vertical saccades that help define the ocular motor signature of denervation of the SO muscle. These dynamic changes were largely unrelated to the changes in static alignment over time, suggesting that static and dynamic disturbances in SOP are influenced by separate central mechanisms.