Can oculomotricity be altered in patients with tinnitus only? A preliminary study

Int Tinnitus J. 2007;13(2):152-6.


The study of oculomotricity is performed by evaluating three systems: saccadic ocular movements (SOMs), optokinetic nystagmus (OKN), and smooth pursuit eye movements (SPEMs). Our aim was to study oculomotricity in patients with a complaint of only tinnitus and to compare it with the value of our control group. We studied the SOMs, OKN, and SPEMs in 25 patients complaining only about tinnitus and in 35 normal adults and compared the results. The data analysis showed a significant difference in the value of the SOMs and SPEMs between the two groups. Sensorineural tinnitus can originate in the organ of Corti, in the cochlear nerve, or in the auditory pathways of the central nervous system. The auditory cortex connects with visual areas and with the superior colliculus. The latter structure is involved in the origin of SOMs and OKN. In our study, we found an increased delay in saccadic tests. In the SPEMs, we observed an increase in the degree of distortion, and a reduction in the gain. This outcome is in accordance with the literature. However, we detected a few alterations in the OKN, and this finding is in partial agreement with the studies analyzed. Alterations in oculomotricity can indicate involvement of the central nervous system in patients with a complaint of only tinnitus.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnosis
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nystagmus, Optokinetic
  • Ocular Motility Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Ocular Motility Disorders / physiopathology
  • Saccades / physiology
  • Tinnitus / epidemiology*