Can Eye Movement Detect Brain Injury?

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Early detection of brain injuries is very important. It can help reduce secondary injuries and speed recovery. But could your doctor detect a brain injury by watching your eye movement?

According to the researchers at New York University’s Lagone Medical Center, the answer to early detection of brain injury is in the eyes. They studied 169 veterans, both healthy control subjects and patients with brain or eye injuries, as they watched music videos. Then the researchers charted and compared the subjects’ eye movement.

When healthy people watch music videos or television, their eyes move horizontally about the same amount as they move vertically – a one to one ratio. But in the patients with nerve damage or brain swelling near the eyes, that ratio shifted depending on which nerve was affected.

Then the researchers and doctors performed surgery to relieve the swelling. Remarkably, the patients’ eye movement returned to normal range.

Lead researcher Uzma Samadani, MD, PhD, is excited about the outcome, because the study:

“[O]ffers a proof of concept that this technology can detect brain injury and suggest its location. This invention suggests a potential new method for classifying and quantitating the extent of injury. Once validated, it will both accelerate diagnosis and aid in the development of better treatments.”

Future applications of this study could also detect concussions and blast injuries. Because this test takes just under 4 minutes, once it is ready for public consumption, emergency rooms and trauma centers will be able to quickly identify brain injury and swelling. This can help prevent secondary injuries caused by the swelling and drastically reduce recovery time for brain injury victims.

David Christensen is a brain injury expert with Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He and his team can help the victims of auto accidents that result in brain injury get their insurance benefits so they can focus on their recovery. If you or someone you love has suffered a brain injury accident, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.