Horizontal rectus muscle anatomy in naturally and artificially strabismic monkeys

Anita Narasimhan, Lawrence Tychsen, Vadims Poukens, Joseph L. Demer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. Structural abnormalities of extraocular muscles (EOMs) or their pulleys are associated with some forms of human strabismus. This experiment was conducted to investigate whether such abnormalities are associated with artificial or naturally occurring strabismus in monkeys. METHODS. Binocular alignment and grating visual acuities were determined in 10 monkeys representing various species using search coil recording and direct observations. Four animals were orthotropic, two had naturally occurring "A"-pattern esotropia, two had concomitant and one had "V"-pattern esotropia artificially induced by alternating or unilateral occlusion in infancy, and one had "A"-pattern exotropia artificially induced by prism wear. After euthanasia, 16 orbits were examined by high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the quasi-coronal plane. Paths and sizes of horizontal rectus EOMs were analyzed quantitatively in a standardized coordinate system. Whole orbits were then serially sectioned en bloc in the quasi-coronal plane, stained for connective tissue, and compared with MRI. Nerve and EOM features were analyzed quantita tively. RESULTS. Quantitative analysis of MRI revealed no significant differences in horizontal rectus EOM sizes or paths among orthotropic or naturally or artificially strabismic monkeys. Histologic examination demonstrated no differences in EOM size, structure, or innervation among the three groups, and no differences in connective tissues in the pulley system. The accessory lateral rectus (ALR) EOM was present in all specimens, but was small, inconsistently located, and sparsely innervated. Characteristics of the ALR did not correlate with strabismus. CONCLUSIONS. Major structural abnormalities of horizontal rectus EOMs and associated pulleys are unrelated to natural or artificial horizontal strabismus in the monkeys studied. The ALR is unlikely to contribute to horizontal strabismus in primates. However, these findings do not exclude a possible role of pulley abnormalities in disorders such as cyclovertical strabismus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2576-2588
Number of pages13
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007


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