Ocular motor and manual tracking in Parkinson's disease and the effect of treatment.
A quantitative analysis of unpredictable saccadic and smooth pursuit ocular motor and manual tracking was performed in 15 mildly affected, previously untreated subjects suffering from Parkinson's disease and in age-matched normal controls. The patients' ocular saccades were characterised by an increased variability of their latencies and reduced accuracy, with normal velocity profiles apart from saccadic duration. Their smooth pursuit had a decreased velocity gain. Similar abnormalities were found with manual tracking. Clinical improvement with dopaminergic drugs was associated with an improvement of saccadic accuracy and smooth pursuit gain. It is postulated that the ocular motor changes seen in Parkinson's disease are contingent upon functional dopamine levels in the basal ganglia.