Suppression of the oculocephalic reflex (Doll's Eyes Phenomenon) in normal full-term babies

Moshe Snir*, Murat Hasanreisoglue, Nitza Goldenberg-Cohen, Ronit Friling, Kalman Katz, Yoav Nachum, Yoav Benjamini, Zvi Herscovici, Ruth Axer-Siegel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: To determine the precise age of suppression of the oculocephalic reflex in infants and its relationship to specific clinical characteristics. Methods: The oculocephalic reflex was prospectively tested in 325 healthy full-term babies aged 1 to 32 weeks attending an orthopedic outpatient clinic. Two ophthalmologists raised the baby's head 30 degrees above horizontal and rapidly rotated it in the horizontal and vertical planes while watching the conjugate eye movement. Suppression of the reflex, by observer agreement, was analyzed in relation to gestational age, postpartum age, postconceptional age, birth weight, and current weight. The data were fitted to a logistic regression model to determine the probability of suppression of the reflex according to the clinical variables. Results: The oculocephalic reflex was suppressed in 75% of babies by the age of 11.5 weeks and in more than 95% of babies aged 20 weeks. Although postpartum age had a greater influence than gestational age, both were significantly correlated with suppression of the reflex (p=0.01and p=0.04, respectively; two-sided t-test). Postpartum age was the best single variable explaining absence of the reflex. On logistic regression with cross-validation, the model including postpartum age and current weight yielded the best results; both these factors were highly correlated with suppression of the reflex (r=0.74). Conclusions: The oculocephalic reflex is suppressed in the vast majority of normal infants by age 11.5 weeks. The disappearance of the reflex occurs gradually and longitudinally and is part of the normal maturation of the visual system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-374
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Eye Research
Volume35
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2010

Funding

FundersFunder number
Ministry of Health, State of Israel

    Keywords

    • Infants
    • Oculocephalic reflex
    • Suppression

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