Saccadic eye movement recording was performed in 53 patients with non-compressive myelopathy. Twenty one patients (40%) had subclinical abnormalities of saccadic movement, supporting a diagnosis of probable multiple sclerosis. When used in addition to the measurement of visual evoked potentials and brainstem auditory evoked responses, the detection of subclinical abnormalities increased from 40% to 57%. The detection rate of abnormalities by saccadic eye movement recording was equal to that of visual evoked responses, but more than of brainstem auditory evoked responses. Prolonged latency of gaze was the most common saccadic latency abnormality detected. The majority of saccadic velocity abnormalities could be explained by disease in the medial longitudinal bundle. An unusual finding was that abduction velocity was increased in six patients. It is concluded that the simple measurement of saccadic eye movement is a valuable addition to other ancillary investigations for the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. It also allows analysis of oculomotor function, commonly disordered in multiple sclerosis, but rarely investigated.
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