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Optokinetic Nystagmus and Pursuit Eye Movements in Schizophrenia

Craig Latham, PhD; Philip S. Holzman, PhD; Theo C. Manschreck, MD, MPH; John Tole, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1981;38(9):997-1003. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1981.01780340049006.
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• This study of two types of optokinetic nystagmus (OKN) provides evidence that previously reported pursuit impairments in schizophrenics may be due to a cortical dysfunction. Differences in responses to partial-field and full-field OKN stimuli strongly support the hypothesis that there are two functionally distinct but anatomically overlapping mechanisms that can produce nystagmus responses. Partial-field OKN is composed of alternating phases of pursuit and saccadic movements. The slow phases of partial-field OKN, like pursuit eye movements, are of significantly poorer quality in schizophrenics compared with normal controls. Full-field OKN, however, is intact in both groups. Partial-field OKN is an improved test for pursuit abnormalities that reflect disturbances of nonvoluntary attention.

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