Clin Exp Optom. 2022 Nov 14:1-8. doi: 10.1080/08164622.2022.2134763. Online ahead of print.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Horizontal fusional reserves are used in the diagnosis and monitoring of common vergence disorders, such as convergence insufficiency, which can cause asthenopia and impact near work. Infrared eyetracking technology shows promise for obtaining automated and objective measurements of fusional reserves, expanding options for screening, clinical testing, and at-home monitoring/vision training.
BACKGROUND: Current clinical tests for fusional reserves rely on subjective judgements made by patients (for diplopia) and clinicians (for eye movements). This paper describes an objective and automated “digital fusion-range test” pilot-tested in adults without current eye disease or binocular vision anomalies. This test combines a consumer-grade infrared eyetracker, a dichoptic display, and custom analyses programs to measure convergence and divergence reserves.
METHODS: Twenty-nine adult participants completed the study. Horizontal fusional reserves at 55 cm were measured using prism bars and with our computer-based digital fusion-range test. For the digital test, observers viewed dichoptic targets whose binocular disparity modulated over time (at speeds of 0.5, 1.0, or 2.0 Δ/s) while their eye movements were continuously recorded. Subjective reports of break and recovery (by keyboard button press) were compared to objective estimates extracted from eyetracking recordings (via automated analyses).
RESULTS: Objective and subjective measures of break and recovery agreed closely. Clinically small (0.3-2Δ) but statistically significant (p < 0.012) differences were found between measurement types for divergence breaks/recoveries and convergence recoveries. No significant differences were found for convergence breaks (p = 0.11). Such differences are consistent with an average 0.91 (SD 1.66) seconds delay between objective break/recovery and subjective responses. The digital test produced comparable results to the standard clinical prism bar method.
CONCLUSION: The digital fusion-range test supports an automated, reliable assessment of horizontal fusional reserves, which do not depend on subjective responses. This technology may prove useful in a variety of clinical and community-based settings.