‘Simple’ sight test recommended after brain injury

A new peripheral vision reaction time test may help to diagnose more serious concussion cases

23 Feb 2017 by Selina Powell

Eye testA new test involving peripheral vision could help to effectively diagnose injuries to the brain that are likely to result in ongoing problems.

A US study, published in the Journal of Neurotrauma, used a simple eye test measuring peripheral reaction time to judge injury to particular parts of the brain that are prone to damage by mild trauma.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center Professor of physiology and pharmacology, Dr Peter Bergold, explained to OT that mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) was presently diagnosed by subjective measures that were prone to error.

While most patients with mild TBI would spontaneously recover, some would develop post-concussive syndrome, he said.

"The peripheral vision reaction time test identifies patients with injury to white matter that may predict long-lasting problems," Dr Bergold explained.

The test was an objective, inexpensive and rapid way of identifying if a patient had a more severe underlying injury, he added.

Future research would observe whether the deficits seen in peripheral visual reaction time in the short-term among mild TBI patients were ongoing deficits, Dr Bergold highlighted.

Studies would also investigate the oculomotor mechanism behind the reaction time differences.

Image credit: Jennifer Brofer 

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