Visual signs and symptoms of progressive supranuclear palsy

Richard A. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Progressive supranuclear palsy is a rare, degenerative brain disorder and the second most common syndrome in which the patient exhibits 'parkinsonism', that is, a variety of symptoms involving problems with movement. General symptoms include difficulties with gait and balance; the patient walking clumsily and often falling backwards. The syndrome can be difficult to diagnose and visual signs and symptoms can help to separate it from closely related movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease, multiple system atrophy, dementia with Lewy bodies and corticobasal degeneration. A combination of the presence of vertical supranuclear gaze palsy, fixation instability, lid retraction, blepharospasm and apraxia of eyelid opening and closing may be useful visual signs in the identification of progressive supranuclear palsy. As primary eye-care practitioners, optometrists should be able to identify the visual problems of patients with this disorder and be expected to work with patients and their carers to manage their visual welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-60
Number of pages11
JournalClinical and Experimental Optometry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • fixation instability
  • Parkinson's disease
  • progressive supranuclear palsy
  • superior colliculus
  • vertical supranuclear gaze palsy


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