Balint's syndrome

Balint's syndrome

Injuries - stroke, tumor, violence - that affect the upper visual pathway and its connections in Brodmann areas 18 & 19 in the occipital lobe and 7 & 39 in the parietal lobe give rise to a disorder called Balint's syndrome.

Balint's syndrome has three components.

1/ Visual confusion/disorientation, which means seeing sharply and clearly within a very limited part of the entire field of view, the rest is "sort of hidden in fog". One is not aware of what is hidden in the "fog". The ability to perceive movement is impaired or missing. Objects suddenly appear in the field of sharp vision, and then just as suddenly disappear. However, the ability to perceive colors and recognize the objects that appear in the area of sharp vision is normal.

2/ Occular apraxia = inability to willingly direct one's gaze in a certain direction.

3/ Optical ataxia = inability to control a movement with the help of the eyes, e.g. being able to point at or touch an object in the environment on command. There is NO difficulty in pointing to or touching parts of one's own body!