Characterising eye movement dysfunction in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome

Badham, S.P. ORCID: 0000-0002-6890-102X and Hutchinson, C.V., 2013. Characterising eye movement dysfunction in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, 251 (12), pp. 2769-2776. ISSN 0721-832X


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Background: People who suffer from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) often report that their eye movements are sluggish and that they have difficulties tracking moving objects. However, descriptions of these visual problems are based solely on patients’ self-reports of their subjective visual experiences and there is a distinct lack of empirical evidence to objectively verify their claims. This paper presents the first experimental research to objectively examine eye movements in those suffering from ME/CFS. Methods: Patients were assessed for ME/CFS symptoms and were compared to age, gender and education matched controls for their ability to generate saccades and smooth pursuit eye movements. Results: Patients and controls exhibited similar error rates and saccade latencies (response times) on prosaccade and antisaccade tasks. Patients showed relatively intact ability to accurately fixate the target (prosaccades) but were impaired when required to focus accurately in a specific position opposite the target (antisaccades). Patients were most markedly impaired when required to direct their gaze as closely as possible to a smoothly moving target (smooth pursuit). Conclusions: It is hypothesised that the effects of ME/CFS can be overcome briefly f or completion of saccades, but that continuous pursuit activity (accurately tracking a moving object) even for a short time period highlights dysfunctional eye movement behaviour in ME/CFS patients. Future smooth pursuit research may elucidate and improve diagnosis of ME/CFS.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Creators: Badham, S.P. and Hutchinson, C.V.
Publisher: Springer
Place of Publication: Heidelberg, Germany
Date: 2013
Volume: 251
Number: 12
ISSN: 0721-832X
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: EPrints Services
Date Added: 28 Oct 2015 10:33
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 13:55

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