Background. Oculomotor studies have found saccadic abnormalities in obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), lending support for models postulating a central role for inhibition in OCD. Saccadic abnormalities in OCD may also be potential candidates for a biological marker, important for more endophenotype-oriented research. Saccadic abnormalities have not been examined in psychotropic-naive patients with OCD without co-morbidity.
Method. We compared the error rates and latencies of 14 carefully selected adult psychotropic-naive patients with OCD with no co-morbid diagnosis and 14 pairwise matched healthy controls on a fixation task, on a prosaccade task and on an antisaccade task.
Results. Patients with OCD showed normal error rates on all tasks, but latencies on the antisaccade task were significantly increased.
Conclusions. Our results indicate that patients with OCD have no gross impairment of oculomotor inhibitory capacities, but may have a disturbed capacity to deliberately initiate a saccade to an imagined target.