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PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e23125. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023125. Epub 2011 Aug 9.

Saccades and vergence performance in a population of children with vertigo and clinically assessed abnormal vergence capabilities.

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Laboratoire de Psychologie et Neuropsychologie Cognitives, FRE 3292 CNRS IUPDP Université Paris Descartes, Boulogne Billancourt, France.



Early studies reported some abnormalities in saccade and vergence eye movements in children with vertigo and vergence deficiencies. The purpose of this study was to further examine saccade and vergence performance in a population of 44 children (mean age: 12.3±1.6 years) with vertigo symptoms and with different levels of vergence abnormalities, as assessed by static orthoptic examination (near point of convergence, prism bar and cover-uncover test).


Three groups were identified on the basis of the orthoptic tests: group 1 (n = 13) with vergence spasms and mildly perturbed orthoptic scores, group 2 (n = 14) with moderately perturbed orthoptic scores, and group 3 (n = 17) with severely perturbed orthoptic scores. Data were compared to those recorded from 28 healthy children of similar ages. Latency, accuracy and peak velocity of saccades and vergence movements were measured in two different conditions: gap (fixation offset 200 ms prior to target onset) and simultaneous paradigms. Binocular horizontal movements were recorded by a photoelectric device.


Group 2 of children with vergence abnormalities showed significantly longer latency than normal children in several types of eye movements recorded. For all three groups of children with vergence abnormalities, the gain was poor, particularly for vergence movement. The peak velocity values did not differ between the different groups of children examined.


Eye movement measures together with static orthoptic evaluation allowed us to better identify children with vergence abnormalities based on their slow initiation of eye movements. Overall, these findings support the hypothesis of a central deficit in the programming and triggering of saccades and vergence in these children.

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