A Brief Vestibular/Ocular Motor Screening (VOMS) assessment to evaluate concussions: preliminary findings

Am J Sports Med. 2014 Oct;42(10):2479-86. doi: 10.1177/0363546514543775. Epub 2014 Aug 8.


Background: Vestibular and ocular motor impairments and symptoms have been documented in patients with sport-related concussions. However, there is no current brief clinical screen to assess and monitor these issues.

Purpose: To describe and provide initial data for the internal consistency and validity of a brief clinical screening tool for vestibular and ocular motor impairments and symptoms after sport-related concussions.

Study design: Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 2.

Methods: Sixty-four patients, aged 13.9 ± 2.5 years and seen approximately 5.5 ± 4.0 days after a sport-related concussion, and 78 controls were administered the Vestibular/Ocular Motor Screening (VOMS) assessment, which included 5 domains: (1) smooth pursuit, (2) horizontal and vertical saccades, (3) near point of convergence (NPC) distance, (4) horizontal vestibular ocular reflex (VOR), and (5) visual motion sensitivity (VMS). Participants were also administered the Post-Concussion Symptom Scale (PCSS).

Results: Sixty-one percent of patients reported symptom provocation after at least 1 VOMS item. All VOMS items were positively correlated to the PCSS total symptom score. The VOR (odds ratio [OR], 3.89; P < .001) and VMS (OR, 3.37; P < .01) components of the VOMS were most predictive of being in the concussed group. An NPC distance ≥5 cm and any VOMS item symptom score ≥2 resulted in an increase in the probability of correctly identifying concussed patients of 38% and 50%, respectively. Receiver operating characteristic curves supported a model including the VOR, VMS, NPC distance, and ln(age) that resulted in a high predicted probability (area under the curve = 0.89) for identifying concussed patients.

Conclusion: The VOMS demonstrated internal consistency as well as sensitivity in identifying patients with concussions. The current findings provide preliminary support for the utility of the VOMS as a brief vestibular/ocular motor screen after sport-related concussions. The VOMS may augment current assessment tools and may serve as a single component of a comprehensive approach to the assessment of concussions.

Keywords: concussion; ocular motor; symptoms; vestibular.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Brain Concussion / diagnosis*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neurologic Examination / methods*
  • Ocular Motility Disorders / diagnosis
  • Ocular Motility Disorders / etiology*
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome
  • ROC Curve
  • Vestibular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Vestibular Diseases / etiology*