Eye tracking technology: a fresh approach in delirium assessment?

Int Rev Psychiatry. 2009 Feb;21(1):8-14. doi: 10.1080/09540260802675106.


The objective of this paper is to highlight the potential role of eye tracking technology (ETT) in the assessment of delirious patients. Delirium occurs in one in five general hospital admissions (Siddiqi, 2006) and its frequency will increase as society gets older. Despite its frequency and significant independent impact upon morbidity and mortality, delirium remains under studied and is frequently missed, detected late, or misdiagnosed (Farrell & Ganzani, 1995; Inouye, 2001; Kakuma, 2003). Detection is a key target for both clinical and research efforts. Assessment of attention is key to diagnosing delirium, yet nurses and non-research medical staff often fail to correctly identify inattention (Inouye et al., 2001; Lemiengre et al., 2006; Ryan et al., 2008). Eye tracking measures have been used in a plethora of key areas of psychiatric research (Crawford et al., 2005; Corden, Chilvers, & Skuse, 2008; Hardin, Schroth, Pine, & Ernst, 2007; Holzman, Leonard, Proctor, & Hughes, 1973), and provide an accurate and non-invasive method in the assessment of cognitive function. The potential of ETT for direct clinical applications in the assessment of attention and comprehension, key cognitive symptoms of delirium, are promising. This paper considers potential new approaches which recent advancements in non-invasive ETT may bring to the examination and understanding of delirium.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Technology / instrumentation*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Delirium / diagnosis
  • Delirium / epidemiology
  • Delirium / psychology*
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Memory, Short-Term
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychiatry / instrumentation*
  • Reaction Time
  • Verbal Behavior