The authors show that central innervation to extraocular muscle is responsible for setting the state of horizontal misalignment and also generating abnormal cross-axis eye movements that result in A or V patterns of strabismus.
Monkeys reared under conditions of alternating monocular occlusion during their first few months of life show large horizontal strabismus, “A” patterns, and dissociated vertical deviation. “A” patterns manifest as an inappropriate horizontal component in the deviated eye during vertical eye movements (cross-axis movement). The objective of this study was to investigate response properties of medial rectus motoneurons (MRMNs) in relation to strabismus properties.
Burst-tonic activity of 21 MRMNs in the oculomotor nucleus were recorded from two monkeys with exotropia as they performed horizontal and vertical smooth pursuit (0.2 Hz, ±10°) under monocular viewing conditions. Neuronal responses and horizontal component of eye movements were used to identify regression coefficients in a first-order model for each tracking condition.
Comparison of position, velocity, and constant parameter coefficients, estimated from horizontal tracking data with either eye viewing, showed no significant differences (P > 0.07), indicating that neuronal activity could account for the horizontal misalignment. Comparison of the position, velocity, and constant parameter coefficients estimated from horizontal tracking and the cross-axis condition showed no significant differences (P > 0.07), suggesting that motoneuron activity could account for most of the inappropriate horizontal cross-axis movement observed in the covered eye during vertical smooth pursuit.
These data suggest that, in animals with sensory-induced strabismus, central innervation to extraocular muscles is responsible for setting the state of strabismus. Mechanical factors such as muscle length adaptation (for horizontal misalignment) and pulley heterotopy or static torsion (for “A” patterns) likely do not play a major role in determining properties in a sensory-induced strabismus.