To investigate the effects of four-muscle tenotomy on visual function and gaze angle in patients with infantile nystagmus syndrome (INS).
Eye movements of nine patients with infantile nystagmus were recorded using infrared reflection or high-speed digital video techniques. Experimental protocols were designed to record the patients' eye-movement waveforms, pre- and post-tenotomy, at different gaze angles. We used the eXpanded Nystagmus Acuity Function (NAFX) to measure tenotomy-induced changes in the nystagmus at primary position and various gaze angles. The longest foveation domains (LFD) were measured from fitted curves. Peak-to-peak nystagmus amplitudes and foveation-period durations were also measured. All measurements were made unmasked.
All seven patients with narrow, high-NAFX, gaze-angle regions showed broadening of these regions of higher visual function. Three patients showed moderate NAFX improvement (13.9-32.6%) at primary position, five showed large improvement (39.9-162.4%), and one showed no NAFX change (due to his high pretenotomy NAFX). Primary position measured acuities improved in six patients. All patients had reductions in nystagmus amplitudes ranging from 14.6 to 37%. The duration of the foveation period increased in all nine patients (11.2-200%). The percentage improvements in both the NAFX and the LFD decreased with higher pretenotomy values.
In addition to elevating primary position NAFX, tenotomy also broadens the high-NAFX regions. This broadening effect is more prominent in patients who had sharp pretenotomy NAFX peaks. Four-muscle tenotomy produces higher primary position NAFX increases in infantile nystagmus patients whose pretenotomy values are relatively low, with the improvement decreasing at higher pretenotomy values. The tenotomy procedure improves visual function beyond primary position acuity. This extends the utility of surgical therapy to several different classes of patients with INS for whom other procedures are contraindicated. The pretenotomy NAFX can now be used to predict both primary position acuity improvements and broadening of a patient's high-NAFX range of gaze angles.