Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have developed new and non-invasive eye-tracking technology to quickly determine the severity of head impact.

NYU’s study evaluated 169 patients. 157 patients were neurologically normal and 12 had specific nerve weaknesses in the eyes or brain swelling. An eye-tracking device measured the ratio of horizontal to vertical eye movements as participants watched a 220-second music video. The neurologically normal participants displayed 1:1 ratios while those with nerve damage or swelling in the brain demonstrated abnormal eye movement ratios reflecting the affected nerve. In each patient with abnormal eye movement, surgery was able to repair the brain which corrected the eye movements to a normal range.

According to the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, 50,000 Canadians sustain brain injuries each year with 30% of all traumatic brain injuries sustained by youth, many while participating in sports and recreational activities.

“One of the reasons that clinical trials for treatment of brain injury have failed in the past is that brain injury is hard to classify and quantitate with existing technologies,” said Uzma Samadani, MD, Ph.D. in an NYU press release,” This invention suggests a potential new method for classifying and quantitating the extent of the injury. Once validated, it will both accelerate diagnosis and aid in the development of better treatments,”

Although the study monitored patients with clinical deficits, the technology will likely be used for traumatic brain injuries and concussions.  Because the test doesn’t take long to administer, medical staff can examine hundreds of patients in a short amount of time.

“When a person falls and hits their head, it can be difficult to determine whether the injury is life-threatening,” explained Samadani. “Eye tracking is potentially a simple, non-invasive and cost-effective way to determine quickly which patients need immediate attention.”

For More Information:

  • New Eye Tracking Technology Promising As Biomarker for Brain Injury and Function, Forbes
  • New Technology Advances Eye Tracking As Biomarker for Brain Function and Recovery from Brain Injury, NYU Langone Medical Center

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Michael Slater, K.C.
Michael Slater, K.C.
Michael Slater K.C. is the founding partner of Slater Vecchio. The majority of his practice is confined to traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury cases.