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Curr Opin Neurol. 2004 Feb;17(1):37-42.

Eye movements in neurodevelopmental disorders.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60612-7327, USA.



The aim of this paper is to review the literature on eye-movement abnormalities associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. Eye-movement testing is a non-invasive quantitative approach for evaluating brain systems across the age spectrum. It thus provides a promising methodology for characterizing and documenting maturational abnormalities in brain systems associated with neurodevelopmental disorders.


Recent oculomotor studies have made significant contributions to the understanding of neurodevelopmental disorders, most notably in autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and Tourette's syndrome. Notably different patterns of deficits have been found in these disorders and have helped to clarify their pathophysiology.


Eye-movement studies have begun to serve as a useful approach for studying cognitive and neurophysiological aspects of neurodevelopmental disorders. They also have potential as a strategy for establishing quantitative endophenotypes for genetic research, and for monitoring beneficial and adverse effects of pharmacotherapies. Studies are needed that involve larger patient populations, longitudinal characterization of developmental failures, patients free from central nervous system-active medications, and that use functional imaging, as patients perform eye-movement tasks, for direct identification of clinically relevant abnormalities in brain systems.

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