Vertical Head Thrusting in Acquired Supranuclear Vertical Ophthalmoplegia

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Patients with congenital ocular motor apraxia (OMA) typically show head thrusts while attempting to shift gaze. In congenital OMA, this compensatory head motion mostly occurs in the horizontal plane. Two patients with acquired palsy of voluntary vertical gaze and continuous upward gaze deviation, one from aortic surgery and the other from multiple infarctions involving the mesodiencephalic junction, showed intermittent downward head thrusting to redirect the eyes straight ahead or downward. The head thrusting behavior improved markedly after surgical correction of the upward gaze deviation in one patient. Vertical head thrusting may be a characteristic sign of acquired vertical gaze palsy when combined with vertical gaze deviation.

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