Utilization of Saccadometry in the Treatment of a Professional Athlete with Anxiety and Post-Concussive Syndrome
Presentation: 24 year old professional hockey player presented with anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and balance issues. He had sustained two previous head injuries while playing hockey. The patient was evaluated diagnostically by the use of saccadometry. Saccadometry is the evaluation of saccadic eye movements using infrared laser technology. The saccadometer quantifies the latency, position, velocity, and amplitude of each eye movement. Each diagnostic session consists of 50 eye movements to the left and 50 to the right.
Methods: The patient was treated over a four day span that included 3 treatment sessions per day. Each treatment session lasted one hour. Each treatment session included gaze stability exercises, eye movement therapy, chair rotations, and the interactive metronome.
Results: On intake saccadometry testing, the patient’s mean peak saccadic velocity to the left was 457 deg/s and to the right was 425 deg/s. After four days of treatment, the patient’s mean peak saccadic velocity to the left was 565 deg/s and 555 deg/s.
Conclusion: The rapid improvement of saccadic velocity waveforms demonstrate a statistically significant patient outcome. The velocity of saccadic eye movements are a reflection of the frequency of firing of brainstem nuclei in the paramedian pontine reticular formation, which also influence autonomic functions. These findings suggest that the intensive neurological treatment approach utilized in this case and the diagnostic data provided by saccadometry are important clinical aspects in neurological rehabilitation.
Acknowledgments: The authors would like to thank Dr. Frederick Carrick and the Carrick Institute of Graduate Studies for the training and clinical neuroscience.
The authors would like to also thank Dr. Marc Ellis for the temporary utilization of his facilities for which this patient was seen and treated.
The authors would also like to thank Dr. Kelsey Brenner, Dr. Stuart Rutledge, Dr. Lon Kalapp, Dr. Eduardo Fontana, Dr. Ben Behrendt, and Matthew Leonard for their assistance in patient treatment.