Machine Learning and Eye Movements Give Insights into Neurodegenerative Disease Mechanisms

Sensors (Basel). 2023 Feb 14;23(4):2145. doi: 10.3390/s23042145.


Humans are a vision-dominated species; what we perceive depends on where we look. Therefore, eye movements (EMs) are essential to our interactions with the environment, and experimental findings show EMs are affected in neurodegenerative disorders (ND). This could be a reason for some cognitive and movement disorders in ND. Therefore, we aim to establish whether changes in EM-evoked responses can tell us about the progression of ND, such as Alzheimer's (AD) and Parkinson's diseases (PD), in different stages. In the present review, we have analyzed the results of psychological, neurological, and EM (saccades, antisaccades, pursuit) tests to predict disease progression with machine learning (ML) methods. Thanks to ML algorithms, from the high-dimensional parameter space, we were able to find significant EM changes related to ND symptoms that gave us insights into ND mechanisms. The predictive algorithms described use various approaches, including granular computing, Naive Bayes, Decision Trees/Tables, logistic regression, C-/Linear SVC, KNC, and Random Forest. We demonstrated that EM is a robust biomarker for assessing symptom progression in PD and AD. There are navigation problems in 3D space in both diseases. Consequently, we investigated EM experiments in the virtual space and how they may help find neurodegeneration-related brain changes, e.g., related to place or/and orientation problems. In conclusion, EM parameters with clinical symptoms are powerful precision instruments that, in addition to their potential for predictions of ND progression with the help of ML, could be used to indicate the different preclinical stages of both diseases.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; Rough Set; eye movements; machine learning.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bayes Theorem
  • Eye Movements
  • Humans
  • Machine Learning
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Parkinson Disease* / diagnosis

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.