Conjugate horizontal eye deviation away from the side of the lesion, termed Wrong Way Eyes (WWE), is a rare manifestation of supratentorial lesions. The proposed etiologic hypotheses include seizure activity, compression of contralateral horizontal gaze pathways from mass effect or midline shift, and asymmetry of hemispheric smooth pursuit mechanisms. We present neurophysiological evidence that favors the asymmetry of hemispheric smooth pursuit hypothesis.
Electroencephalography (EEG) was performed in 2 patients with large left hemispheric supratentorial lesions, capturing fluctuating periods of (a) unresponsiveness with WWE and (b) relative alertness without WWE. One patient had 5 days of continuous EEG, and the other routine EEG.
Neither patient had seizures. EEG showed normal right hemispheric activity during both unresponsiveness with WWE and alertness without WWE states. By contrast, more severe left hemispheric dysfunction was evident in the WWE state compared with the non-WWE state in both patients. In one patient, during the relatively alert state, right-beating nystagmus was observed, and drift of the eyes away from the side of the lesion was reliably seen to occur on eyelid closure and after ipsiversive volitional saccades.
Seizure activity does not account for WWE. Compression of contralateral horizontal gaze pathways is also unlikely to account for WWE as that hypothetical mechanism should produce EEG abnormalities over the nonlesioned hemisphere, which were not seen. The findings suggest instead that a single dysfunctional hemisphere is sufficient to produce WWE. The repeated rightward drift of the eyes and nystagmus seen in one patient during relative alertness, and the observation of unilateral hemispheric dysfunction on EEG during unresponsiveness with WWE in both patients supports the idea that an imbalance of smooth pursuit mechanisms is most likely to account for this rare phenomenon.