Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex in the Aging Population

Sisli Etfal Hastan Tip Bul. 2024 Apr 5;58(1):45-54. doi: 10.14744/SEMB.2023.31967. eCollection 2024.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) of individuals over 60 years of age who have not been diagnosed with a specific vestibular pathology.

Methods: Bilateral six-semicircular canal video head impulse test (vHIT), Dizziness Handicap Inventory and European Evaluation of Vertigo scales were applied to participants.

Results: In total, 103 participants were included in the study (75 male, 28 female), and the mean age was 69.35 ± 7.41 years. The mean age of 7th decade group was 64.32±3.12 (59 participants; 38 male, 21 female), and the mean age of 8th decade and older group was 76.11±5.93 (44 participants; 37 male, 7 female). No significant differences were found between the VOR gains of the lateral or vertical semicircular canals between the 7th decade and 8th decade and older groups (p>0.05). In the 8th decade and older group, the presence of right lateral semicircular canal corrective saccade and left posterior semicircular canal corrective saccade showed a positively moderate correlation with VOR gains of the same semicircular canals (r=0.455, p=0.002, and r=0.518, p=0.001, respectively). No significant correlation was found between age and VOR gain in the 7th decade group, however, there was a negatively weak correlation between age and left lateral semicircular canal VOR gain (r=-0.366, p=0.017) in the 8th decade and older group.

Conclusion: While assessing the age-related changes in VOR using vHIT, it must be considered that the changes related to aging of the vestibular system begin to emerge in the population over 70 years of age, and corrective saccade findings may be more informative than VOR gains in revealing these changes.

Keywords: Aging; corrective saccades; vestibulo-ocular reflex; video head impulse test.