Distinctive Convergence Eye Movements in an Acquired Neurosensory Dysfunction

Front Neurol. 2020 Jun 16:11:469. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2020.00469. eCollection 2020.


In late 2016, diplomats in Havana, Cuba, began presenting with a unique symptom complex after perceiving a strange noise and/or feeling a pressure field in their domicile. This report is a retrospective, quantitative analysis of video-oculography data of pupillary light reflex performance and binocular disparity-driven eye and pupil movements during the acute time period after the reported exposure. The patterns of response in these 19 individuals are markedly different than those seen in a group of individuals with the usual acute mild traumatic brain injury (17 subjects) and from 62 control subjects (21-60 years old) with no injury. Non-linear least squares regression was used to estimate the model parameters from the eye movement and the pupil measurements (1). Linear discriminant analysis was then used to identify a classifier for an objective discrimination of the groups with >91% accuracy and no confusion between the acute neurosensory findings among the members of the Havana diplomatic community and the subjects with acute mild traumatic brain injury. This pattern difference in eye and pupil behavior may be a useful screen to help objectively distinguish blunt trauma from Havana-type effects in the future and to guide the affected individuals to appropriate care.

Keywords: human; objective diagnosis; pupil regulation; vergence eye movements; video-oculography.