Eye movements in parkinsonian syndromes

Ann Neurol. 1994 Apr;35(4):420-6. doi: 10.1002/ana.410350408.


Eye movements were recorded in 14 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) in the "off" condition, 14 patients with striatonigral degeneration (SND), 10 patients with corticobasal degeneration (CBD), and 10 patients with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), with comparison with 12 control subjects. Vertical saccade paralysis was not observed in the PD, SND, and CBD groups but was present in 9 patients of 10 in the PSP group. In the PD and SND groups, horizontal reflexive visually guided saccade latency and accuracy were similar, and differed only slightly from those of controls. In the CBD group, saccade latency was significantly increased and correlated to an "apraxia score"; whereas, in the PSP group, saccade amplitude was significantly decreased. Thus, the abnormalities of both horizontal saccade parameters in the PSP group contrasted with those observed in the CBD group. The percentage of errors in the antisaccade task, an index of prefrontal dysfunction, was markedly increased only in the PSP group. The smooth pursuit gain was decreased in all groups but more severely in the PSP group. It may be concluded that saccade abnormalities are clearly different in SND, CBD, and PSP, and might help in early differential diagnosis in individual patients, but that SND cannot be differentiated from PD on the simple basis of eye movement abnormalities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Electrooculography
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology