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Vision Res. 1998 Jun;38(11):1629-41.

The congenital and see-saw nystagmus in the prototypical achiasma of canines: comparison to the human achiasmatic prototype.

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Ocular Motor Neurophysiology Laboratory, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, OH, USA.


We applied new methods for canine eye-movement recording to the study of achiasmatic mutant Belgian Sheepdogs, documenting their nystagmus waveforms and comparing them to humans with either congenital nystagmus (CN) alone or in conjunction with achiasma. A sling apparatus with head restraints and infrared reflection with either earth- or head-mounted sensors were used. Data were digitized for later evaluation. The horizontal nystagmus (1-6 Hz) was similar to that of human CN. Uniocular and disconjugate nystagmus and saccades were recorded. See-saw nystagmus (SSN), not normally seen with human CN, was present in all mutants (0.5-6 Hz) and in the one human achiasmat studied thus far. This pedigree is an animal model of CN and the SSN caused by achiasma or uniocular decussation. Given the finding of SSN in all mutant dogs and in a human, achiasma may be sufficient for the development of congenital SSN and, in human infants, SSN should alert the clinician to the possibility of either achiasma or uniocular decussation. Finally, the interplay of conjugacy and disconjugacy suggests independent ocular motor control of each eye with variable yoking in the dog.

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