Persistent ocular tremors appear to be associated with Parkinson's disease

Persistent ocular tremors that prevent eye stability during fixation appear to be common among patients with Parkinson disease (PD) suggesting that precise oculomotor testing could provide an early physiological biomarker for diagnosing PD, according to a report published Online First by Archives of Neurology.

"Although a number of studies describe various oculomotor abnormalities in subjects with PD, conflicts about the specific deficits remain," writes George T. Gitchel, M.S., of the Southeast Parkinson's Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Center, Richmond, Va., and colleagues.

The authors compared oculomotor function between 112 with Parkinson disease and 60 age-matched controls during fixation and while tracking a randomly displaced target on a PC monitor.

"The major finding of the present study was that using modern eye movement tracking, oscillatory fixation instability was universally seen in a large cohort of 112 patients with PD," the authors write. "The fact that this behavior was universally observed in every tested patient with PD, including unmedicated patients, suggests that ocular tremor is a function of the disease process and not induced by medication."

The authors found that all 112 patients with PD showed persistent ocular instability while fixating on a target, compared with only two of the 60 control patients. Additionally, the authors found no differences in oculomotor parameters between medicated and unmedicated patients with PD.

"All patients with PD exhibited persistent ocular tremor that prevented stability during fixation," the authors conclude. "The pervasiveness and specificity of this feature suggest that modern, precise oculomotor testing could provide a valuable early physiological for diagnosing PD."

More information: Arch Neurol. Published online April 9, 2012. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2012.70

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Innovative new strategy to treat Parkinson's disease

Dec 19, 2011

Stabilizing the cell's power-generating center protects against Parkinson's disease (PD) in a rat model, according to a report published online this week in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

In Taiwan, diabetes linked to increased Parkinson's risk

Apr 02, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Individuals with diabetes in Taiwan have a significantly increased risk of Parkinson's disease (PD), which is robust across most age and gender stratifications, according to a study published ...

Recommended for you

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

31 minutes ago

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...

Is Parkinson's an autoimmune disease?

Apr 17, 2014

The cause of neuronal death in Parkinson's disease is still unknown, but a new study proposes that neurons may be mistaken for foreign invaders and killed by the person's own immune system, similar to the ...

User comments