Oculomotor neurorehabilitation for reading in mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI): an integrative approach

NeuroRehabilitation. 2014;34(1):129-46. doi: 10.3233/NRE-131025.


Background: Considering the extensive neural network of the oculomotor subsystems, traumatic brain injury (TBI) could affect oculomotor control and related reading dysfunction.

Objective: To evaluate comprehensively the effect of oculomotor-based vision rehabilitation (OBVR) in individuals with mTBI.

Methods: Twelve subjects with mTBI participated in a cross-over, interventional study involving oculomotor training (OMT) and sham training (ST). Each training was performed for 6 weeks, 2 sessions a week. During each training session, all three oculomotor subsystems (vergence/accommodation/version) were trained in a randomized order across sessions. All laboratory and clinical parameters were determined before and after OMT and ST. In addition, nearvision-related symptoms using the Convergence Insufficiency Symptom Survey (CISS) scale and subjective visual attention using the Visual Search and Attention Test (VSAT) were assessed.

Results: Following the OMT, over 80% of the abnormal parameters significantly improved. Reading rate, along with the amplitudes of vergence and accommodation, improved markedly. Saccadic eye movements demonstrated enhanced rhythmicity and accuracy. The improved reading-related oculomotor behavior was reflected in reduced symptoms and increased visual attention. None of the parameters changed with ST.

Conclusions: OBVR had a strong positive effect on oculomotor control, reading rate, and overall reading ability. This oculomotor learning effect suggests considerable residual neuroplasticity following mTBI.

Keywords: Traumatic brain injury; eye movements; mTBI; nearvision symptoms; neuroplasticity; oculomotor deficiency; oculomotor learning; oculomotor rehabilitation; reading dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries / complications
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ocular Motility Disorders / etiology
  • Ocular Motility Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Reading*
  • Young Adult