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Papers of the Week

2023 Jan 25

Brain Res

Eye movement characteristics are not significantly influenced by psychiatric comorbidities in people with visual snow syndrome.


Solly EJ, Clough M, McKendrick AM, White OB, Fielding J
Brain Res. 2023 Jan 25:148265.
PMID: 36709021.


Visual snow syndrome (VSS) is a neurological disorder primarily affecting the processing of visual information. Using ocular motor (OM) tasks, we previously demonstrated that participants with VSS exhibit altered saccade profiles consistent with visual attention impairments. We subsequently proposed that OM assessments may provide an objective measure of dysfunction in these individuals. However, VSS participants also frequently report significant psychiatric symptoms. Given that that these symptoms have been shown previously to influence performance on OM tasks, the objective of this study was to investigate whether psychiatric symptoms (specifically: depression, anxiety, fatigue, sleep difficulties, and depersonalization) influence the OM metrics found to differ in VSS. Sixty-one VSS participants completed a battery of four OM tasks and a series of online questionnaires assessing psychiatric symptomology. We revealed no significant relationship between psychiatric symptoms and OM metrics on any of the tasks, demonstrating that in participants with VSS, differences in OM behaviour are a feature of the disorder. This supports the utility of OM assessment in characterising deficit in VSS, whether supporting a diagnosis or monitoring future treatment efficacy.