Eye movement abnormalities in essential tremor versus tremor dominant Parkinson's disease

F. Visser* (Corresponding Author), L. J. Bour, Y. X. Lee, T. R. ten Brinke, A. F. van Rootselaar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective: To show that eye movement abnormalities differ between essential tremor (ET) and tremor dominant Parkinson's disease (PD-T), and that these abnormalities reflect cerebellar dysfunction in ET and basal ganglia pathology in PD-T. Methods: In this exploratory study, in 23 patients with ET, 21 age-matched patients with PD-T, and 19 age-matched healthy controls (HCs), we investigated visually guided saccades, antisaccades, and smooth pursuit eye movements (SPEM). Results: While the ET group had a normal gain (saccade amplitude/target amplitude) and latency of saccades, the PD-T group had hypometric visually guided saccades, and a prolonged latency of visually guided saccades and antisaccades. The SPEM gain was similarly low in both ET and PD-T and was significantly lower in both patient groups than in the HC group. Conclusions: In ET, SPEM gain was reduced in the presence of normal saccades, whereas in PD-T, the reduced SPEM gain was accompanied by delayed saccade initiation and hypometric saccades, in line with cerebellar dysfunction in ET and basal ganglia dysfunction in PD-T. Significance: These findings support the presumed cerebellar pathology in ET. In addition, the difference in saccade features may contribute to the groundwork for a quantitative diagnostic test to differentiate between these disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-691
Number of pages9
JournalClinical neurophysiology
Issue number5
Early online date23 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Basal ganglia
  • Cerebellum
  • Essential tremor
  • Eye movements
  • Parkinson's disease


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