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Analysis of Foveation Sequences in Congenital Nystagmus

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Part of the IFMBE Proceedings book series (IFMBE,volume 20)

Abstract

Congenital nystagmus (CN) is an ocular-motor disorder that appears at birth or during the first few months of life; it is characterised by involuntary, conjugated, bilateral to and fro ocular oscillations. Pathogenesis of congenital nystagmus is still unknown. Eye movement recording allow to extract and analyse nystagmus main features such as shape, amplitude and frequency; depending on the morphology of the oscillations nystagmus can be classified in different categories (pendular, jerk, horizontal unidirectional, bidirectional). In general, CN patient show a considerable decrease of the visual acuity: image fixation on the retina is disturbed by nystagmus continuous oscillations; however, image stabilisation is still achieved during the short foveation periods in which eye velocity slows down while the target image is placed onto the fovea. Visual acuity was found to be mainly dependent on foveation periods duration, but cycle-to-cycle foveation repeatability and reduction of retinal image velocities also contribute in increasing visual acuity. This study concentrate on cycle-to-cycle image position variation onto fovea, trying to characterise the sequences of foveation positions. Eye-movement (infrared oculographic or electro oculographic) recordings, relative to different gaze positions and belonging to more than 30 CN patients, were analysed. Preliminary results suggest that sequences of foveations show a cyclic pattern with a dominant frequency (around 0.3 Hz on average) much lower than that of the nystagmus (about 3.3 Hz on average). Sequences of foveations reveals an horizontal ocular swing of more than 2 degree on average, which can explain the low visual acuity of the CN patient. Current CN therapies, pharmacological treatment or surgery of the ocular muscles, mainly aim to increase the patient’s visual acuity. Hence, it is fundamental to have an objective parameter (expected visual acuity) for therapy planning. The information about sequences of foveations can improve estimation of patientvisual acuity.

Keywords

  • Congenital nystagmus
  • visual acuity
  • foveation
  • eye movement signal processing

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Correspondence to Giulio Pasquariello .

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Pasquariello, G., Bifulco, P., Cesarelli, M., Romano, M., Fratini, A. (2008). Analysis of Foveation Sequences in Congenital Nystagmus. In: Katashev, A., Dekhtyar, Y., Spigulis, J. (eds) 14th Nordic-Baltic Conference on Biomedical Engineering and Medical Physics. IFMBE Proceedings, vol 20. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-69367-3_81

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-69367-3_81

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-540-69366-6

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