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931-4. Convergence Insufficiency. History.

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Convergence Insufficiency


A 73-year old man with known PD for 10 years, complained of horizontal double vision for 18 months. He could see the images move apart and refocus a single image by blinking. Diplopia was most marked reading, driving and watching TV. Three ophthalmologists gave him 3 separate sets of glasses. Past hx –ve for strabismus or prism glasses.


Presenting Symptoms

Difficulty walking

Generalized rigidity

Tremor of the hands at rest

Diplopia reading

ocular motor signs
Ocular Motor Signs

Impaired convergence

Slow hypometric saccades

Saccadic substitution for smooth pursuit

Poor visual suppression of the vestibular ocular reflex

Decreased spontaneous blink rate

Glabella tap positive

neurological signs
Neurological Signs

Rigidity of the neck, head flexed and tilted

Mild head tremor

Mask-like face

Slow (akinetic) head and neck movements


Convergence Insufficiency

Three factors:


Parkinson’s disease

Medications (Sinemet)

etiology of slow saccades
Etiology of Slow Saccades

Spinocerebellar Ataxias (SCA), especially SCA2 (olivopontocerebellar atrophy)

Huntington’s Disease

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

Parkinson’s (advanced cases) and related diseases.

Lytico-Bodig disease

slow saccades
Slow Saccades

Whipple’s Disease

Wilson’s Disease

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (some cases)

Drug intoxications: anticonvulsants, benzodiazepines


Courtesy of Mendez F. Cummings JL. Dementia: A Clinical Approach. Third Edition. Butterworth Heinmann 2003.

the following illustrations of
The following illustrations of

The brain MRI

Pathology of the midbrain

Lewy body

are taken from the case of an elderly woman with Parkinson’s Disease.


Figure 1 Axial T2WI through the midbrain shows the normal pars compacta, the space between the substantia nigra and red nuclei.


Figure 2 Axial T2WI in a patient with PD shows the midbrain is atrophic and the red and substantia nigra almost touch each other because the pars compacta is greatly reduced.

Courtesy Anne Osborn, MD


Figure 3 Axial gross autopsy in patient with PD shows striking reduction of the pars compacta, especially well seen on the right side where the red nucleus and substantia nigra are actually touching


Figure 4 Section of the brain showing cytoplasmic inclusion body within a surviving neuron with an eosinophilic core surrounded by a clear halo. The Lewy body is not entirely specific, but it is a highly sensitive marker for PD


Parkinson’s Disease

Due to dopaminergic cell death leading to dopamine deficiency

Defective gene for  synuclein on Chr. 4q

Second locus on Chr. 2p