Eye Movements

Neuronopathic Gaucher's News Contents
Gaucher's News Contents

Dr Chris Harris is an Ophthalmologist at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital which has been in the forefront of pioneering work in the area of eye movements in Neuronopathic Gaucher disease.

Dr Harris began his talk by giving a simple explanation on how the eyes work and the different types of movements that they make.

One of the movements he spoke about were saccades, where normally the eyes flick rapidly to look at different visual objects. Patients with Type 3 Gaucher disease lack the ability for their eyes to make these quick movements thus resulting in the patient either blinking or head thrusting to look at new objects. This is called ocular motor apraxia (OMA). It is in this area that patients with NGD have problems but this can be difficult to diagnose. OMA is a sign of neuronopathic Gauchers disease.

At present Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital is the only hospital with the equipment to diagnose and monitor OMA. However Dr Harris is in the process of building a portable system so that it can be taken to Europe to help other patients.

Difficulties with Visual Information

Children with OMA experience difficulties with visual information that involve visual or spatial tasks eg picture processing and reading. It is important that teachers understand these difficulties and ensure that these children are given access to visual aids such as rulers, sloping desks and reading boards.

These children have problems with their peripheral vision, which means that in busy places such as playgrounds and in classrooms they are unable to assess what is going on around them and are likely to collide into people and pieces of equipment.

Children should be guided to take part in activities such as swimming rather than ball games which would cause them problems in locating the ball and may result in low self esteem.

Parents are advised to get professionals such as a visual impairment teacher or occupational therapist involved with their child to ensure that they can access the national curriculum.

Neuronopathic Gaucher's News Contents
Gaucher's News Contents

Source: Gaucher's News February 2000. © Copyright Gauchers Association 2000