Eye-Tracking Technology Measures Severity of Brain Injuries

Posted September 10, 2019

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are often initially screened using the traditional “follow my finger” test. But can eye-tracking technology provide a more objective way to catch TBIs?

According to a recent study, technology developed by RightEye shows that the Bethesda, MD, based company’s digital eye-tracking technology can reliably indicate the TBIs and potentially track treatment progress. The technology uses a camera to track and record the eye at a rate of several images per second, measuring minute deficiencies in eye movement that can indicate the severity of underlying neurological conditions, including TBI and Parkinson’s disease. 

“Concussion [mild TBI] is a significant international public health concern, yet methods currently used for its detection are manual and subjective,” said Melissa Hunfalvay, RightEye’s cofounder and chief science officer, in a press release. “[This study] demonstrates that digital eye-tracking tests … are capable of providing doctors with the data they need to quickly and precisely uncover abnormal eye-movement behavior that can be associated with concussions of varying severity.”     

The study, which was published in the open-access journal Concussion, recorded horizontal and vertical saccadic eye movements for 195 people with and without a clinically validated TBI in the past 30 days to examine the accuracy of the eye-tracking technology.

“Concussions remain one of the most difficult neurological issues to detect and accurately diagnose,” said Mark Baron, a neurologist at the Virginia Commonwealth University Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center, in a press release. “Having a tool that allows doctors to quickly and objectively analyze the neurological health of people could help uncover countless hidden concussions and empower doctors to create tailored treatment plans in line with the severity of the injury.”