December 2013, Volume 251, Issue 12, pp 2769-2776
Date: 06 Aug 2013
Characterising eye movement dysfunction in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
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.
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.
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).
It is hypothesised that the effects of ME/CFS can be overcome briefly for 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.
The authors have no financial relationship with the body that funded this research. The authors have full control of all primary data, and agree to allow Graefe’s Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology to review their data upon request.
NICE Clinical Guideline 53, Developed by the National Collaborating Centre for Primary Care. (2007) Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (or encephalopathy): Diagnosis and management of CFS/ME in adults and children. Retrieved from http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/live/11824/36193/36193.pdf [Accessed 10th April 2013]
Carruthers BM, Jain AK, De Meirleir KL, Peterson DL, Klimas NG, Lerner AM et al (2003) Myalgic encephalomyelitis ⁄ chronic fatigue syndrome: clinical working case definition, diagnostic and treatment protocols. J Chronic Fatigue Syndr 11:7–116CrossRef
Capuron L, Welberg L, Heim C, Wagner D, Solomon L, Papanicolaou DA et al (2006) Cognitive dysfunction relates to subjective report of mental fatigue in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Neuropsychopharm 31:1777–1784CrossRef
Flor-Henry P, Lind JC, Koles ZJ (2010) EEG source analysis of chronic fatigue syndrome. Psychiat Res 181:155–164CrossRef
Leslie S (1997) Chronic fatigue syndrome: optometric clinical presentation and management. J Behav Optom 8:155–161
Vedelago LJ (1997) Visual dysfunction in chronic fatigue syndrome. J Behav Optom 8:149–154
Jason LA, Evans M, Porter N, Brown M, Brown A, Hunnell J et al (2010) The development of a revised Canadian myalgic encephalomyelitis chronic fatigue syndrome case definition. Am J Biochem Biotechnol 6:120–135CrossRef
Wechsler D (1981) Manual for the Wechsler adult intelligence scale—revised. Psychological Corporation, New York
Ross RG, Olincy A, Zerbe G, Radant A (2003) Which duration of postsaccadic slowing identifies anticipatory saccades during smooth pursuit eye movements? Psychophysiology 38:325–333CrossRef
Bäckman L, Small BJ, Wahlin A, Larsson M (2000) Cognitive functioning in very old age. In: Salthouse TA, Craik FIM (eds) The handbook of aging and cognition, 2nd edn. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Mahwah, pp 499–558
- Characterising eye movement dysfunction in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome
Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Volume 251, Issue 12 , pp 2769-2776
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg
- Additional Links
- Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
- Eye movements
- Smooth pursuit
- Industry Sectors