Vergence eye movements in patients with schizophrenia

Academic Article


  • Previous studies have shown that smooth pursuit eye movements are impaired in patients with schizophrenia. However, under normal viewing conditions, targets move not only in the frontoparallel plane but also in depth, and tracking them requires both smooth pursuit and vergence eye movements. Although previous studies in humans and non-human primates suggest that these two eye movement subsystems are relatively independent of one another, to our knowledge, there have been no prior studies of vergence tracking behavior in patients with schizophrenia. Therefore, we have investigated these eye movements in patients with schizophrenia and in healthy controls. We found that patients with schizophrenia exhibited substantially lower gains compared to healthy controls during vergence tracking at all tested speeds (e.g. 0.25. Hz vergence tracking mean gain of 0.59 vs. 0.86). Further, consistent with previous reports, patients with schizophrenia exhibited significantly lower gains than healthy controls during smooth pursuit at higher target speeds (e.g. 0.5. Hz smooth pursuit mean gain of 0.64 vs. 0.73). In addition, there was a modest (r≈0.5), but significant, correlation between smooth pursuit and vergence tracking performance in patients with schizophrenia. Our observations clearly demonstrate substantial vergence tracking deficits in patients with schizophrenia. In these patients, deficits for smooth pursuit and vergence tracking are partially correlated suggesting overlap in the central control of smooth pursuit and vergence eye movements. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
  • Published In

  • Vision Research  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bolding MS; Lahti AC; White D; Moore C; Gurler D; Gawne TJ; Gamlin PD
  • Start Page

  • 64
  • End Page

  • 70
  • Volume

  • 102