Purpose: Eye movement abnormalities are common in multiple sclerosis (MS), and infrared oculography is a noninvasive method for quantification. This study aims to describe and classify abnormalities of visual fixation and their clinical relevance in MS.
Methods: A validated standardized infrared oculography protocol, Demonstrate Eye Movement Networks with Saccades, was used for quantifying gaze stability during a fixation task in MS patients and healthy controls. Saccadic intrusions, gaze drift, and stability of fixation around the drift line were used to subclassify MS patients by performing receiver operating characteristic analyses of different parameters. The relationship between the presence of abnormalities of fixation and visual functioning was analyzed using logistic regression models, which was adjusted for possible confounders.
Results: This cross-sectional study included 213 subjects with MS and 57 healthy controls. Square wave jerk abnormalities were present in 24% of MS patients. The prevalence was higher in more disabled subjects. The presence of larger square wave jerks (with a higher amplitude) in the MS patients was related to complaints of focusing on stationary objects (odds ratio, 2.2; P = 0.035) and a lower vision-related quality of life (odds ratio, 2.56; P = 0.012).
Conclusions: This study provided a comprehensive overview of the characteristics of problems with visual fixation in subjects with MS. The most important and most common finding was the presence of larger square wave jerks during fixation, which was related to visual functioning in daily life.