PURPOSE. To determine whether squirrel monkeys made artificially strabismic in infancy had ocular fixation abnormalities, directional asymmetries of horizontal optokinetic nystagmus (OKN and asymmetries of motion visually evoked potentials (MVEPs) similar to those of humans with infantile strabismus. METHODS. Esotropia was produced in a newborn squirrel monkey by surgical tenotomy of both lateral rectus muscles. The alignment and eye rotations of the monkey were examined longitudinally and VEP testing was performed at the age of one year. Visual acuity was measured using spatial frequency sweep VEPs (SSVEP) in response to grating stimulation. OKN was tested under conditions of monocular viewing using full-visual-field, vertically oriented, moving stripes. MVEPs in response to horizontal motion were recorded with the animal sedated to reduce the possibility of eye movement artifact. RESULTS. The artificially strabismic squirrel monkey displayed a constant, comitant esotropic strabismus accompanied by latent nystagmus. Monocular SSVEP acuity was subnormal in one eye, consistent with mild monocular strabismic amblyopia. The monkey demonstrated asymmetric OKN favoring nasally-directed stimulus motion when viewing with either eye. Monocular MVEPs were also characterized by a horizontal asymmetry with a directional bias inverted 180 degrees between the right and the left eyes. The eye movements and MVEP asymmetries were similar to those observed in strabismic macaque monkeys and humans with early-onset strabismus. Neither the OKN asymmetry nor the MVEP asymmetry was evident in a normal squirrel or normal macaque monkey. CONCLUSION. The artificially strabismic squirrel monkey is an appropriate eye movement and VEP model for the study of neural mechanisms in human infantile strabismus.
- Motion visually evoked potential
- Optokinetic nystagmus
- Spatial sweep visually evoked potential
- Squirrel monkey