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A novel tablet-based software for the acquisition and analysis of gaze and eye movement parameters: a preliminary validation study in Parkinson’s disease

Jun 15, 2023 | News

The idea that eye movements can reflect certain aspects of brain function and inform on the presence of neurodegeneration is not a new one. Indeed, a growing body of research has shown that several neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, present characteristic eye movement anomalies and that specific gaze and eye movement parameters correlate with disease severity. The use of detailed eye movement recordings in research and clinical settings, however, has been limited due to the expensive nature and limited scalability of the required equipment. Here we test a novel technology that can track and measure eye movement parameters using the embedded camera of a mobile tablet. We show that using this technology can replicate several well-known findings regarding oculomotor anomalies in Parkinson’s disease (PD), and furthermore show that several parameters significantly correlate with disease severity as assessed with the MDS-UPDRS motor subscale. A logistic regression classifier was able to accurately distinguish PD patients from healthy controls on the basis of six eye movement parameters with a sensitivity of 0.93 and specificity of 0.86. This tablet-based tool has the potential to accelerate eye movement research via affordable and scalable eye-tracking and aid with the identification of disease status and monitoring of disease progression in clinical settings.

Frontiers in Neurology article