Eye movements in mild traumatic brain injury: Ocular biomarkers

Keywords: concussion, sport-related concussion, mild traumatic brain injury, mTBI diagnosis, mTBI epidemiology, mTBI pathophysiology


Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI, or concussion), results from direct and indirect trauma to the head (i.e. a closed injury of transmitted forces), with or without loss of consciousness. The current method of diagnosis is largely based on symptom assessment and clinical history. There is an urgent need to identify an objective biomarker which can not only detect injury, but inform prognosis and recovery. Ocular motor impairment is argued to be ubiquitous across mTBI subtypes and may serve as a valuable clinical biomarker with the recent advent of more affordable and portable eye tracking technology. Many groups have positively correlated the degree of ocular motor impairment to symptom severity with a minority attempting to validate these findings with diffusion tract imaging and functional MRI. However, numerous methodological issues limit the interpretation of results, preventing any singular ocular biomarker from prevailing. This review will comprehensively describe the anatomical susceptibility, clinical measurement, and current eye tracking literature surrounding saccades, smooth pursuit, vestibulo-ocular reflex, vergence, pupillary light reflex, and accommodation in mTBI.

How to Cite
McDonald, M. A., Danesh-Meyer, H. V., & Holdsworth, S. (2022). Eye movements in mild traumatic brain injury: Ocular biomarkers. Journal of Eye Movement Research, 15(2). https://doi.org/10.16910/jemr.15.2.4

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