Oculomotor abnormalities in Friedreich's ataxia

Can J Neurol Sci. 1979 May;6(2):167-72. doi: 10.1017/s0317167100119584.


A clinical neuro-ophthalmological and electro-oculographic study was made on fourteen patients with Friedreich's ataxia. None had evidence of optic nerve dysfunction. No patient complained of oscillopsia although all had ocular motor deficits of varying degrees, which appeared to be related to the severity of the general manifestations of the disease. The defects comprised square wave jerks, jerky pursuit with inability to maintain eccentric gaze resulting in gaze paretic nystagmus and rebound nystagmus. There was failure to suppress by fixation the vestibulo-ocular reflex. The slow phase velocity of caloric nystagmus was always of reduced velocity. There was inability to augment the slow phase velocity of optokinetic nystagmus with increasing stimulus velocity. Abnormalities of the saccadic system were manifest particularly as hypermetria. These signs in combination are suggestive of disease involving the cerebellar flocculus and vermis or their brain stem connections. No abnormalities were found in 17 parents or siblings.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Caloric Tests
  • Electrooculography*
  • Eye Movements*
  • Female
  • Friedreich Ataxia / complications
  • Friedreich Ataxia / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nystagmus, Pathologic / complications
  • Nystagmus, Pathologic / diagnosis
  • Saccades
  • Vestibular Function Tests
  • Vision Tests