Research Reports - Deficits in saccades and smooth-pursuit eye movements in adults with traumatic brain injury

Revathy Mani, Lisa Asper & Sieu K Khuu (2018)

Brain Injury, DOI: 10.1080/02699052.2018.1483030

Purpose: To conduct a review of literature and quantify the effect that traumatic brain injury (TBI) has on oculomotor functions (OM).

Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted from papers that objectively measured saccades and smooth-pursuit eye movements in mild and severe TBI.

Results: The overall impact of TBI on OM functions was moderate and significant with an effect size of 0.42 from 181 OM case-control comparisons. The heterogeneity, determined using the random effect model, was found to be significant (Q (180) = 367, p < 0.0001, I2 = 51) owing to the variety of OM functions (reflexive saccades, antisaccades, memory-guided saccades, self-paced saccades and pursuits) measured and varying post-injury periods.The overall effect on OM functions were similar in mild and severe TBI despite differences in combined effect size of various OM functions. OM functions involving complex cognitive skills such as antisaccades (in mild and severe TBI) and memory-guided saccades (in mild TBI) were the most adversely affected, suggesting that OM deficits may be associated with cognitive deficits in TBI.

Conclusion: TBI often results in long-standing OM deficits. Experimental measures of OM assessment reflect neural integrity and may provide a sensitive and objective biomarker to detect OM deficits following TBI.

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