Pursuit eye movements in dyslexic children: evidence for an immaturity of brain oculomotor structures?
Background: Dyslexia is a disorder found in 5–10% of school-aged children. Several studies reported visual deficits and oculomotor abnormalities in dyslexic children. The objective of our study was to examine horizontal pursuit performance in dyslexic children, despite its poor involvement in reading.
Methods: Eye movements were recorded by video-oculography in 92 children (46 dyslexic children, mean age: 9.77 ± 0.26 and 46 non dyslexic, IQ- and age-matched children). Both the number of catch-up saccades occurring during pursuit task and the gain of pursuit were measured.
Results: Catch-up saccades were significantly more frequent in the dyslexic group than in the non-dyslexic group of children. Pursuit performance (in terms of the number of catch-up saccades and gain) significantly improved with increasing age in the non-dyslexic children group only.
Conclusions: The atypical pursuit patterns observed in dyslexic children suggest a deficiency in the visual attentional processing and an immaturity of brain structures responsible for pursuit triggering. This finding needs to be validated by neuroimaging studies on dyslexia population.