An eye-tracking assistive device improves the quality of life for ALS patients and reduces the caregivers' burden

J Mot Behav. 2014;46(4):233-8. doi: 10.1080/00222895.2014.891970. Epub 2014 Apr 14.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease. In some cases, patients with ALS retain a normal level of consciousness but disease progression eventually results in generalized paralysis, which first impedes and then prevents oral communication. This communication obstacle can generate a great deal of stress for the patient, family, and caregiver. Here the authors ask whether the use of an eye-tracking assistive device can improve quality of life for ALS patients and relieves burden of their primary caregivers. Subjects were divided into two groups depending on whether they used (n = 10) or did not use (n = 10) an eye-tracking assistive device. The authors assessed patients' quality of life and severity of depression using the ALS Specific Quality of Life Instrument-Revised and the Taiwanese Depression Questionnaire, respectively. The Caregiver Burden Scale was used to assess the burden on caregivers. Our study shows that the eye-tracking assistive device significantly improved patients' quality of life, as compared with patients in the nonuser group (p <.01). The assistive device also reduced the burden on caregivers (p <.05). This is likely a result of the improvement of patient's autonomy and more effective communication between patient and caregiver.

Keywords: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; eye-tracking assistive device; quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / psychology
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / rehabilitation*
  • Brain-Computer Interfaces / standards*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Self-Help Devices*