• Users Online: 1585
  • Home
  • Print this page
  • Email this page

   Table of Contents      
Year : 1994  |  Volume : 42  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 212-213

Ping pong gaze (periodic alternating gaze) : A case report

Department of Ophthalmology, S.C.B. Medical College Hospital, Cuttack, India

Correspondence Address:
Madhumati Misra
Department of Ophthalmology, S.C.B. Medical College Hospital, Cuttack 753 007
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 10577001

Rights and PermissionsRights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Misra M, Lenka B D, Rath S. Ping pong gaze (periodic alternating gaze) : A case report. Indian J Ophthalmol 1994;42:212-3

How to cite this URL:
Misra M, Lenka B D, Rath S. Ping pong gaze (periodic alternating gaze) : A case report. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 1994 [cited 2023 Dec 10];42:212-3. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/ijo/pages/default.aspx/text.asp?1994/42/4/212/25560

Ping pong gaze or periodic alternating gaze (PAG) is a very particular abnormal eye movement which is detected occasionally in comatosed patients. [1] PAG is a slow and regular conjugate eye movement that is rigorously horizontal and perfectly pendular [2],[3] Pre­sence of PAG is a clinical indicator of bilateral cor­tical damage with preserved brain stem function. [1],[2],[3],[4] Subsequent disappearance of PAG in the same pa­tient indicates that irreversible brain stem damage has already occurred. We report the curious appearance and disappearance of this rare oculomotor anomaly in a fatal case of head injury.

  Case report Top

A 25-year-old man sustained closed head injury in a vehicular accident and was admitted to the department of neurosurgery. The patient was deeply comatose (Glasgow Coma Scale, GCS 4) on admission. There was decerebrate rigidity without focal paresis and bilateral extensor plantar response. Immediate CT scan of head showed bilateral diffuse hemispheric oedema without focal mass lesion. On conservative treatment, GCS remained between 4 to 6. Neuro­ophthalmic examination was undertaken for bilateral black eye and subconjunctival haemorrhage.

On examination, both eyes had conjugate mobility disorder, equally reactive pupil, and normal optic fundi. The eyeballs moved from one corner to the other and did not stop in the lateral position; the movements were slow and regular. Pursuit and saccadic movements, and convergence could not be tested because of coma. Cold water irrigation in the ears made the abnormal movement disappear and the eyes stopped in the lateral position. But quickly, the abnormal movement reappeared.

The patient remained in coma for 60 days prior to death. Repeat CT scans showed massive bilateral cortical infarction and secondary brain oedema. The PAG persisted throughout the period of coma and almost disappeared 2 days prior to death.

  Discussion Top

Ping pong gaze or periodic alternating gaze occurs in comatose patients. The lesion giving rise to PAG is always bilateral, ischemic and extensive infarction. [1],[2],[3],[4] Associated pontine haemorrhage and temporal herniation has also been described [1],[2],[4] PAG has been documented occasionally in patients with mesencephatic herniation, solitary crus cerebri lesions and congenital hydrocephalus .[2],[4]

PAG is caused by liberation of brain stem func­tions without superior inhibition. [1],[5],[6] Normal results of caloric tests with classically bilateral lesions sup­ported this hypothesis. During sleep spontaneous brain stem activity decreases, which allows the PAG to dis­appear. [1] This observation supports that PAG is due to brain stem function.

In the previous cases reported in the literature, the duration of abnormal ocular movement was short, extending from few hours to few days [.2],[6] The most reported patients were comatosed due to extensive bilateral hemispheric lesion with initially preserved brain stem function. Most of these patients ultimately died and the PAG curiously disappeared few hours prior to death. This possibly was due to secondary irreversible brain stem damage resulting from ischemia or raised intracranial pressure.

The detection of PAG in a comatosed patient is a clinical indicator of bilateral extensive cortical damage, and hence a poor prognosis. Disappearance of PAG during therapy indicates a grave prognosis and may herald impending death of a comatosed patient.

  References Top

Steward JD, Kirkham T, Mathieson G. Periodic alternat­ing gaze. Neurology 29:222-224, 1979.  Back to cited text no. 1
Larmande P, Limodin J, Dongmo L, et al. Periodic al­ternating gaze. Neurosurgery 20:666-667, 1987.  Back to cited text no. 2
Senelick RC. "Ping Pong" gaze, Periodic alternating gaze deviation. Neurology 26:532-535, 1976.  Back to cited text no. 3
Larmande P, Henin D, Jam M, et al. Periodic alternat­ing gaze: Electro-oculographic and anatomical observa­tion of a new case. Neurosurgery 10:263-265, 1972.  Back to cited text no. 4
Masucci EF, Fabara JA, Saini M, et al. Periodic alternat­ing Ping Pong gaze. Ann Ophthalmol 13:1123-1127, 1981.  Back to cited text no. 5
Reynard M, Wertenbacker C, Behrens M, et al. "Ping Pong gaze" amplified Neurology 29:757-758, 1979.  Back to cited text no. 6


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
Case report

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded0    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal