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Delayed saccadic eye movements in glaucoma

Authors Kanjee R, Yücel YH, Steinbach MJ, González EG, Gupta N

Received 24 September 2012

Accepted for publication 29 October 2012

Published 27 November 2012 Volume 2012:4 Pages 63—68


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Raageen Kanjee,1 Yeni H Yücel,1,2 Martin J Steinbach,3,4 Esther G González,3,4 Neeru Gupta1,2,5

Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, St Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto, 2Keenan Research Centre at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St Michael's Hospital, 3Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, 4Centre for Vision Research, York University, 5Glaucoma and Nerve Protection Unit, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada

Purpose: To determine whether saccadic eye movements are altered in glaucoma patients.
Patients and methods: Sixteen patients with glaucoma and 21 control subjects were prospectively studied. Patients participated in a pro-saccade step task. Saccades were recorded using a noninvasive infrared oculometric device with head-mounted target projection. Medians of saccade reaction time, duration, amplitude, and peak velocity; frequency of express saccades; and percentage of trials with direction error were recorded. t-tests were used to compare the glaucoma and age-matched control groups. A correlation analysis of saccade parameters with visual field loss was also performed.
Results: Median saccade reaction times were significantly prolonged in glaucoma patients compared with controls (220.9 ± 49.02 ms vs 192.1 ± 31.24 ms; t-test: P = 0.036). Median duration, median amplitude, and median peak velocity of saccades did not show significant differences between glaucoma and control groups (P > 0.05). Frequency of express saccades was significantly decreased in glaucoma patients compared with controls (1.75 ± 2.32 vs 7.0 ± 6.99; t-test: P = 0.007). Saccade parameters in glaucoma patients showed no significant correlation with visual field loss.
Conclusion: Saccadic eye movements are significantly delayed in patients with early, moderate, or advanced glaucoma. Determination of median saccade reaction time may offer a novel functional test to quantify visual function in glaucoma patients. Further studies are needed to determine pathological processes implicated in delayed initiation of saccades, and to assess whether alteration of saccades affects daily activities in glaucoma patients.

Keywords: visual field, latency, visual dysfunction, brain, superior colliculus, quality of life

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