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Blink Induced Saccadic Oscillations

Timothy C. Hain, MD

Hain TC, Zee DS, Mordes M: Blink-induced saccadic oscillations. Annals Neurology., 19:299-301, 1986.

This paper attempted to explain saccadic instability associated with blinking, in a patient with a cerebellar degeneration. A simulation of his saccades is shown below.


In this model (somewhat poorly scanned), it is proposed that blinks can transiently reduce the tone in pause cells, which are inhibitory neurons that stop the eye from moving before and after a saccade. Pause cells are an integral part of the "bang-bang" controller postulated for saccades by Dr. David Robinson. While this model is certainly a feasible explanation, it is difficult to prove or disprove it. Subsequent studies of a very limited number of patients with Opsoclonus, a similar disorder to this one, have not documented abnormal pause cells. This may be because the lesions cannot be seen, or because of sampling bias, or perhaps the idea that the pause cells control saccadic stability is incorrect. Recently a case was reported of a person with a lesion in the PPRF that had ocular flutter (Schon et al, 2001).



Copyright August 3, 2016 , Timothy C. Hain, M.D. All rights reserved. Last saved on August 3, 2016