Exp Brain Res. 2022 Jan 24. doi: 10.1007/s00221-021-06283-6. Online ahead of print.
Oblique saccades often display component stretching, in which the shorter vector in one cardinal direction is slowed so that its duration matches that of the longer vector in the orthogonal direction, resulting in a straighter trajectory. In internuclear ophthalmoplegia, adducting saccades are typically slowed while vertical saccades are unaffected. It is not known whether these slowed adducting movements are accompanied by adaptive component stretching of the vertical vector during oblique saccades. This was a cross-sectional study. We recorded the saccadic eye movement in 5 patients with right or bilateral internuclear ophthalmoplegia from multiple sclerosis and 17 healthy controls, using an EyeLink 1000 machine. The target stimulus was located at varying angles (0-360) and amplitudes (4, 8, 12 degrees). For each saccade we have calculated the curvature index as the main outcome measure, which is the area between the actual and ideal straight trajectory for oblique saccadic eye movements, divided by the square of the length of the straight trajectory, to give a unit-less metric for curvature. In the 17 control subjects, curvature showed a strong positive correlation between adducting saccades and the yoked abducting saccades of the other eye. In internuclear ophthalmoplegia, adducting saccades showed a strong curvature concave to the horizontal meridian, indicating inadequate component stretching, while abducting saccades did not differ from controls. This new sign of oblique saccadic curvature in internuclear ophthalmoplegia indicates a limitation of the range of central adaptive changes in response to distal lesions affecting transmission of the saccadic command.