Vertical saccades have never been studied in dyslexic children. We examined vertical visually guided saccades in fifty-six dyslexic children (mean age: 10.5±2.56 years old) and fifty-six age matched non dyslexic children (mean age: 10.3±1.74 years old). Binocular eye movements were recorded using an infrared video-oculography system (mobileEBT®, e(ye)BRAIN). Dyslexic children showed significantly longer latency than the non dyslexic group, also the occurrence of anticipatory and express saccades was more important in dyslexic than in non dyslexic children. The gain and the mean velocity values were significantly smaller in dyslexic than in non dyslexic children. Finally, the up-down asymmetry reported in normal population for the gain and the velocity of vertical saccades was observed in dyslexic children and interestingly, dyslexic children also reported an up-down asymmetry for the mean latency. Taken together all these findings suggested impairment in cortical areas responsible of vertical saccades performance and also at peripheral level of the extra-ocular oblique muscles; moreover, a visuo-attentionnal bias could explain the up-down asymmetry reported for the vertical saccade triggering.
The aim of this study was to explore further the development of postural control in healthy children. The novelty of this study was to resort to both spatial and temporal analysis of the center of pressure (CoP). Forty-six healthy children from 4 to 16 years old (mean age: 9.1±3 years) and a group of 13 healthy adults (mean age: 25±3 years) participated to this study. Postural control was tested on both a stable and an unstable platform in three different visual conditions: eyes open fixating a target, under optocinetic stimulation, and eyes closed. Resul*ts showed a significant decrease of both surface area as well as mean velocity of the center of pressure (CoP) during childhood. With the children's increasing age, the spectral power indices decreased significantly and the canceling time increased significantly. Such improvement in postural control could be due to a better use of sensorial inputs and cerebellar integration during development, allowing subjects to achieve more efficient postural control.
We compared the effect of oculomotor tasks on postural sway in two groups of ADHD children with and without methylphenidate (MPH) treatment against a group of control age-matched children. Fourteen MPH-untreated ADHD children, fourteen MPH-treated ADHD children and a group of control children participated to the study. Eye movements were recorded using a video-oculography system and postural sway measured with a force platform simultaneously. Children performed fixation, pursuits, pro- and anti-saccades. We analyzed the number of saccades during fixation, the number of catch-up saccades during pursuits, the latency of pro- and anti-saccades; the occurrence of errors in the anti-saccade task and the surface and mean velocity of the center of pressure (CoP). During the postural task, the quality of fixation was significantly worse in both groups of ADHD children with respect to control children; in contrast, the number of catch-up saccades during pursuits, the latency of pro-/anti-saccades and the rate of errors in the anti-saccade task did not differ in the three groups of children. The surface of the CoP in MPH-treated children was similar to that of control children, while MPH-untreated children showed larger postural sway. When performing any saccades, the surface of the CoP improved with respect to fixation or pursuits tasks. This study provides evidence of poor postural control in ADHD children, probably due to cerebellar deficiencies. Our study is also the first to show an improvement on postural sway in ADHD children performing saccadic eye movements.
Studies dealing with developmental aspects of binocular eye movement behavior during reading are scarce. In this study we have explored binocular strategies during reading and visual search tasks in a large population of dyslexic and typical readers. Binocular eye movements were recorded using a video-oculography system in 43 dyslexic children (aged 8-13) and in a group of 42 age-matched typical readers. The main findings are: (i) ocular motor characteristics of dyslexic children are impaired in comparison to those reported in typical children in reading task; (ii) a developmental effect exists in reading in control children, in dyslexic children the effect of development was observed only on fixation durations; and (iii) ocular motor behavior in the visual search tasks is similar for dyslexic children and for typical readers, except for the disconjugacy during and after the saccade: dyslexic children are impaired in comparison to typical children. Data reported here confirms and expands previous studies on children's reading. Both reading skills and binocular saccades coordination improve with age in typical readers. The atypical eye movement's patterns observed in dyslexic children suggest a deficiency in the visual attentional processing as well as an impairment of the ocular motor saccade and vergence systems interaction.
There are no studies exploring the development of vertical saccades in large populations of children. In this study, we examined the development of vertical saccades in sixty-nine children. Binocular eye movements were recorded using an infrared video oculography system [Mobile EBT(®), e(ye)BRAIN], and movements from both eyes had been analyzed. The gain and the peak velocity of vertical saccades show an up-down asymmetry. Latency value decreases with the age of children, and it does not depend on the direction of the saccades; in contrast, the gain and the peak velocity values of vertical saccades are stable during childhood. We suggest that the up-down asymmetry is developed early, or is innate, in humans. Latencies of vertical saccades develop with the age of children, in relationship with the development of the cortical network responsible for the saccade preparation. In contrast, the precision and the peak velocity are not age-dependent as they are controlled by the cerebellum and brainstem structures.
We explore the influence of a secondary cognitive task on concurrent postural control in dyslexic children. Seventeen children with dyslexia (DYS) were compared with thirteen non-dyslexic children (NDYS). Postural control was recorded in Standard Romberg (SR) and Tandem Romberg (TR) conditions while children, in separate sessions, have to fixate on a target and name simple objects appearing consecutively on a computer screen. The surface, the length and the mean speed of the center of pressure were analyzed; the percentage of correct responses to the cognitive task was also measured. DYS are significantly more unstable than NDYS. The secondary cognitive task significantly decreases the postural stability in DYS only. For both children postural performances in the TR condition is significantly worse than in the SR condition. The percentage of wrong responses to the cognitive task is significantly higher in DYS. Postural instability observed in DYS supports the hypothesis that there is a deficit of automatic integration of visual information and postural control in these children. This result is in line with the U-shaped non linear model showing that a secondary task performed during a postural task leads to an impaired postural stability probably due to focus attention on the cognitive task.
Prior studies have pointed toward a link between the saccadic and vergence systems, coordinating binocular saccadic movements. Recent studies have shown that vergence deficits in children induce poor binocular coordination during saccades, but none of them have studied ocular motility in children during a daily task such as reading. The present study tests whether vergence deficits in children perturb binocular coordination of saccades and fixation during reading. Our second objective was to explore whether vergence training could improve the quality of binocular coordination. Twelve patients (from 7.3 to 13.4 years old) complaining from vertigo but without vestibular and neurological pathology underwent orthoptic tests and were selected for our study when they presented vergence deficits. Eye movements were recorded during a reading task with a Mobile EyeBrain® Tracker video-oculography system. Data were compared to twelve age-matched controls with normal orthoptic values. While there was no statistically significant difference in saccade amplitudes between the two groups (p=0.29), patients showed higher disconjugacy during and after the saccades compared to controls (p<0.001). After orthoptic training, six patients out of the first 12 examined came back for a second oculomotor test. All showed a significant improvement of their binocular saccade coordination. We suggest that the larger disconjugacy during reading observed in patients before training could be due to poor vergence as initially assessed by orthoptic examination. Such findings support the hypothesis of a tight relationship between the saccadic and vergence systems for controlling the binocular coordination of saccades. The improvement reported after orthoptic training is in line with the hypothesis of an adaptative interaction on a premotor level between the saccadic and vergence system.
To our knowledge, studies comparing binocular eye movements during reading task in strabismic children are scarce. The goal of our study was to examine binocular coordination of saccades during reading in strabismic children.
The objective of our study was to examine horizontal smooth pursuit performance in strabismic children and in children with vergence deficits, and to compare these data with those recorded in a group of control age-matched children.
Dual-task performance is known to affect postural stability in children. This study focused on the effect of oculomotor tasks like saccadic eye movements on postural stability, studied in a large population of children by recording simultaneously their eye movements and posture.
Verticality is essential in our life, especially for postural stability. Subjective vertical as well as postural stability depends on different sensorial information: visual, vestibular and somesthesic. They help to build the spatial referentials and create a central representation of verticality. Children are more visuo-dependant than adults; however, we did not find any study focusing on how children develop their sense of verticality.
The influence of a secondary task on concurrent postural control was explored in twenty-one dyslexic children (mean age: 10.4±0.3 years). Data were compared with twenty age-matched non-dyslexic children. As a secondary task, a modified Stroop test was used, in which words were replaced with pictures of fruits. The postural control of children was recorded in standard Romberg condition as the children were asked to name the colour of fruits appearing consecutively on a computer screen. Two conditions were tested: a congruent condition, in which the fruit was drawn in its natural ripe colour, and a non-congruent colour condition (NC), in which the fruit was drawn in three abnormal colours. A fixating condition was used as baseline. We analyzed the surface, length and mean speed of the center of pressure and measured the number of correct responses in the Stroop-like tasks. Dyslexic children were seen to be significantly more unstable than non-dyslexic ones. For both groups of children, the secondary task significantly increased postural instability in comparison with the fixating condition. The number of correct responses in the modified Stroop task was significantly higher in the non-dyslexic than in the dyslexic group. The postural instability observed in dyslexic children is in line with the cerebellar hypothesis and supports the idea of a deficit in automatic performance in such children. Furthermore, in accordance with cross domain competition model, our findings show that attentional resources are used to a greater extent by the secondary task than in controlling body stability.
Studies dealing with developmental aspects of binocular eye movement behaviour during reading are scarce. In this study we have explored binocular strategies during reading and during visual search tasks in a large population of normal young readers. Binocular eye movements were recorded using an infrared video-oculography system in sixty-nine children (aged 6 to 15) and in a group of 10 adults (aged 24 to 39). The main findings are (i) in both tasks the number of progressive saccades (to the right) and regressive saccades (to the left) decreases with age; (ii) the amplitude of progressive saccades increases with age in the reading task only; (iii) in both tasks, the duration of fixations as well as the total duration of the task decreases with age; (iv) in both tasks, the amplitude of disconjugacy recorded during and after the saccades decreases with age; (v) children are significantly more accurate in reading than in visual search after 10 years of age. Data reported here confirms and expands previous studies on childrens reading. The new finding is that younger children show poorer coordination than adults, both while reading and while performing a visual search task. Both reading skills and binocular saccades coordination improve with age and children reach a similar level to adults after the age of 10. This finding is most likely related to the fact that learning mechanisms responsible for saccade yoking develop during childhood until adolescence.
Early studies reported some abnormalities in saccade and vergence eye movements in children with vertigo and vergence deficiencies. The purpose of this study was to further examine saccade and vergence performance in a population of 44 children (mean age: 12.3±1.6 years) with vertigo symptoms and with different levels of vergence abnormalities, as assessed by static orthoptic examination (near point of convergence, prism bar and cover-uncover test).
The purpose of this study was to examine the postural control in children with strabismus before and after eye surgery. Control of posture is a complex multi-sensorial process relying on visual, vestibular and proprioceptive systems. Reduced influence of one of such systems leads to postural adaptation due to a compensation of one of the other systems . Nine children with strabismus (4-8 years old) participated in the study. Ophthalmologic, orthoptic, vestibular and postural tests were done before and twice (2 and 8 weeks) after eye surgery. Postural stability was measured by a platform (TechnoConcept): two components of the optic flux were used for stimulation (contraction and expansion) and two conditions were tested eyes open and eyes closed. The surface area of the center of pressure (CoP), the variance of speed of the CoP and the frequency spectrum of the platform oscillations by fast Fourier transformation were analysed. Before surgery, similar to typically developing children, postural stability was better in the eyes open condition. The frequency analysis revealed that for the low frequency band more energy was spent in the antero-posterior direction compared to the medio-lateral one while the opposite occurred for the middle and the high frequency bands. After surgery, the eye deviation was reduced in all children and their postural stability also improved. However, the energy of the high frequency band in the medio-lateral direction increased significantly. These findings suggest that eye surgery influences somatosensory properties of extra-ocular muscles leading to improvement of postural control and that binocular visual perception could influence the whole body.
Postural control in quiet stance although simple still requires some cognitive resources; dual cognitive tasks influence further postural control. The present study examines whether or not dyslexic teenagers experience postural instability when performing a Stroop dual task for which their performances are known to be poor. Fifteen dyslexics and twelve non-dyslexics (14 to 17 years old) were recruited from the same school. They were asked to perform three tasks: (1) fixate a target, (2) perform an interference Stroop test (naming the colour or the word rather than reading the word), (3) performing flexibility Stroop task: the subject performed the interference task as in (2) except when the word was in a box, in which case he had to read the word. Postural performances were measured with a force platform. The results showed a main task effect on the variance of speed of body sway only: such variance was higher in the flexibility task than for the other two tasks. No group effect was found for any of the parameters of posture (surface, mediolateral and anteroposterior sway, variance of speed). Further wavelet analysis in the time-frequency domain revealed an increase in the spectral power of the medium frequency range believed to be related to cerebellum control; an accompanying increase in the cancellation time of the high frequency band related to reflexive loops occurred for non-dyslexics only. These effects occurred for the flexibility task and could be due to its high cognitive difficulty. Dyslexics displayed shorter cancellation time for the medium frequency band for all tasks, suggesting less efficient cerebellar control, perhaps of eye fixation and attention influencing body sway. We conclude that there is no evidence for a primary posture deficit in 15 year old teenagers who come from the general population and who were recruited in schools.
Vergence insufficiency is frequent in many populations including children with vertigo in the absence of measurable vestibular dysfunction. Orthoptic exercises are typically used to improve vergence and the clinical practice suggests that simple repetition of vergence movements improves it. Objective eye movement recordings were used to asses the dynamics and spatial-temporal properties of convergence (8.7°) and divergence (2.7°) along the midline while these movements were repeated 80 times. Eight children, aged on average 13years and showing vertigo symptoms accompanied with vergence insufficiency, participated. For both, convergence and divergence the velocity increased and the overall duration decreased; the amplitude of the mean transient component of the response changed significantly. These findings are compatible with models of double mode control of vergence eye movements (transient - open-loop vs. sustained - closed loop). Due to simple repetitions a real improvement in the dynamics of vergence along the midline occurred.
Binocular yoking of saccades is essential for single vision of words during reading. This study examines the quality of binocular coordination in individuals with dyslexia, independent of the process of reading. Fifteen dyslexia children (11.2+/-1.4 years) and 15 non-dyslexia individuals (8 children, aged 11.1+/-1.3 years, and 7 adults, 24+/-3 years) were studied. Eye movements were recorded in two conditions. In the control condition, participants made saccades to a single target where the saccade direction and magnitude were controlled. In the experimental condition saccades were allowed to move freely while viewing paintings. The results indicated that, compared with the non-dyslexia group, the dyslexia group showed a larger saccade amplitude difference between the two eyes, as well as a larger conjugate post-saccadic drift, during painting exploration than that for saccades to a single target. While both groups showed a larger disconjugate post-saccadic drift during painting exploration relative to the control condition, this showed a negative correlation with saccade disconjugacy (i.e. disconjugate drift reduced the disparity) only for the non-dyslexia group. These results indicate that individuals with dyslexia have problems of binocular coordination, both during the saccade and fixations, which are independent of the reading process. It is suggested that this reflects an immaturity of the normal oculomotor learning mechanisms.
An earlier study suggested that deficits of vergence can influence postural control via the efferent and afferent proprioceptive signals. In this study, postural control in 28 children with vertigo with normal vestibular function but with vergence abnormalities and in 19 normal children of comparable age was assessed with orthoptic tests.
Objective. Latency of eye movements depends on cortical structures while speed of execution and accuracy depends mostly on subcortical brainstem structures. Prior studies reported in dyslexic reader children abnormalities of latencies of saccades (isolated and combined with vergence); such abnormalities were attributed to deficits of fixation control and of visual attention. In this study we examine speed and accuracy characteristics of horizontal eye movements in natural space (saccades, vergence and combined movements) in dyslexic reader children. Methods. Two paradigms are tested: gap paradigm (fixation offset 200 ms prior to target onset), producing shorter latencies, in both non-dyslexic reader and dyslexic reader children and simultaneous paradigm. Seventeen dyslexic reader children (mean age: 12 +/- 0.08 years) and thirteen non-dyslexic reader children (mean age: 12 +/- 1 years) were tested. Horizontal eye movements from both eyes were recorded simultaneously by a photoelectric device (Oculometer, Dr. Bouis). Results. For all movements tested (saccades, vergence, isolated or combined) and for both paradigms, the mean velocity and accuracy were similar in dyslexic readers and non-dyslexic readers; no significant difference was found. Conclusion. This negative but important result, suggests no dysfunction of brainstem ocular motor circuits in dyslexic readers. It contrasts results on latencies related to visual attention dysfunction at cortical level.
The purpose of the study was to examine spatio-temporal characteristics of horizontal eye movements in the natural space (saccade, vergence and combined movements) in young subjects with early onset convergent or divergent strabismus. Nine young subjects (8-20 years old) were tested: three with divergent strabismus, six with convergent strabismus. A standard paradigm was used to elicit pure horizontal saccades at far and at close viewing distance, pure vergence along the median plane (convergence and divergence) and saccades combined with vergence movements. Horizontal eye movements from both eyes were recorded by a photoelectric device. Eye movements were recorded before surgery, and, for the majority of the subjects, two times after surgery. Before surgery the accuracy of convergence and divergence movements in their pure or combined form was poor with respect to normal values. The mean velocity of convergence was also abnormally slow. Strabismus surgery improved significantly the accuracy of these types of eye movements. The speed of pure convergence and of divergence combined movements increased significantly after surgery. We concluded that poor vergence eye movements performance, particularly those found for convergence in strabismic subjects could be due to impairment in the central structures related to sensory disparity inputs. Adaptive mechanisms promoted by the realignment of the eyes could be at the origin of the improvement in the vergence performances observed in our subjects after strabismus eye surgery.
To our knowledge, there are no studies exploring the development of voluntary and reflexive saccades in children using different types of paradigms to investigate horizontal saccades. In the present study, we examined the development of horizontal saccades in children aged 6-15 years. Binocular eye movements were recorded using an infrared video-oculography system (mobileEBT(®), e(ye)BRAIN) in seventy-two children (aged 6-15). Several paradigms were used to stimulate reflexive and voluntary horizontal saccades: gap, step and overlap paradigms. Horizontal anti-saccades were also examined. In all paradigms, the latency of saccades decreased with the age of children and it did not depend on the direction of the saccades (left/right); the error rate in the anti-saccade task decreased with age; the gain of horizontal saccades improved with age; the peak velocity of horizontal saccades was stable throughout childhood. We conclude that saccadic performances are influenced by age and cortical circuits responsible for the preparation of reflexive or voluntary saccades are completed at 12 years old. These data could be used as reference values for further studies dealing with pathologic development.
Several studies have examined postural control in dyslexic children; however, their results were inconclusive. This study investigated the effect of a dual task on postural stability in dyslexic children. Eighteen dyslexic children (mean age 10.3±1.2 years) were compared with eighteen non-dyslexic children of similar age. Postural stability was recorded with a platform (TechnoConcept®) while the child, in separate sessions, made reflex horizontal and vertical saccades of 10° of amplitude, and read a text silently. We measured the surface and the mean speed of the center of pressure (CoP). Reading performance was assessed by counting the number of words read during postural measures. Both groups of children were more stable while performing saccades than while reading a text. Furthermore, dyslexic children were significantly more unstable than non-dyslexic children, especially during the reading task. Finally, the number of words read by dyslexic children was significantly lower than that of non-dyslexic children and, in contrast to the non-dyslexic children. In line with the U-shaped non-linear interaction model, we suggest that the attention consumed by the reading task could be responsible for the loss of postural control in both groups of children. The postural instability observed in dyslexic children supports the hypothesis that such children have a lack of integration of multiple sensorimotor inputs.
Studies comparing binocular eye movements during reading and visual search in dyslexic children are, at our knowledge, inexistent. In the present study we examined ocular motor characteristics in dyslexic children versus two groups of non dyslexic children with chronological/reading age-matched. Binocular eye movements were recorded by an infrared system (mobileEBT®, e(ye)BRAIN) in twelve dyslexic children (mean age 11 years old) and a group of chronological age-matched (N = 9) and reading age-matched (N = 10) non dyslexic children. Two visual tasks were used: text reading and visual search. Independently of the task, the ocular motor behavior in dyslexic children is similar to those reported in reading age-matched non dyslexic children: many and longer fixations as well as poor quality of binocular coordination during and after the saccades. In contrast, chronological age-matched non dyslexic children showed a small number of fixations and short duration of fixations in reading task with respect to visual search task; furthermore their saccades were well yoked in both tasks. The atypical eye movements patterns observed in dyslexic children suggest a deficiency in the visual attentional processing as well as an immaturity of the ocular motor saccade and vergence systems interaction.
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