This pilot study sought to determine the efficacy of using the Developmental Eye Movement (DEM) test in the adult, acquired brain injury (ABI) population to quantify clinically the effects of controlled, laboratory-performed, oculomotor-based vision therapy/vision rehabilitation.
Nine adult subjects with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and five with stroke were assessed before and after an eight-week, computer-based, versional oculomotor (fixation, saccades, pursuit, and simulated reading) training program (9.6 h total). The protocol incorporated a cross-over, interventional design with and without the addition of auditory feedback regarding two-dimensional eye position. The clinical outcome measure was the Developmental Eye Movement (DEM) test score (ratio, errors) taken before, midway, and immediately following training.
For the DEM ratio parameter, improvements were found in 80–89% of the subjects. For the DEM error parameter, improvements were found in 100% of the subjects. Incorporation of the auditory feedback component revealed a trend toward enhanced performance. The findings were similar for both DEM parameters, as well as for incorporation of the auditory feedback, in both diagnostic groups.
The results of the present study demonstrated considerable improvements in the DEM test scores following the oculomotor-based training, thus reflecting more time-optimal and accurate saccadic tracking after the training. The DEM test should be considered as another clinical test of global saccadic tracking performance in the ABI population.
Keywords: Traumatic brain injury (TBI), Cerebral vascular accident (CVA)/stroke, Developmental Eye Movement (DEM) test, Eye movements, Neuro-optometric rehabilitation