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    How vision can help diagnose concussions

    Stock image above is © Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com. The University of Maine and corresponding sports team and players depicted are not directly associated with this article or the content therein.
     

    New York City—Sports-related concussions can now be diagnosed on the sidelines using a two-minute vision-based test, according to a recent study published in The Journal or Neuro-Ophthalmology.

     

    King-Devick test

    In recent years, athletic trainers working with athletes in sports such as boxing and martial arts have supplemented the Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC)—a test of cognition—with the King-Devick test, in which the injured party reads lines of slightly jumbled numbers on three cards as quickly as possible. The test measures rapid eye movement, visual tracking, and related cognitive responses. If an injured athlete reads the numbers slower after a head impact than in baseline testing, he is considered to be concussed.

    Related: Vision therapy: A top 10 must-have list

    “For decades, optometrists have used the King-Devick test to aid in the diagnosis of ocular motor dysfunction and a need for vision therapy,” says Marc Taub, OD, MS, FAAO, FCOVD, chief of vision therapy and rehabilitation and supervisor of the residency program in pediatrics and vision therapy at Southern College of Optometry. “It is reliable and easy to perform in patients of any age or cognitive ability.

    “I personally use this test in my standard binocular vision assessment,” he says. “There are three test plate plates, which increase in difficulty in a step-wise manner. This helps me determine exactly how much difficulty in the patient is having with his eye movements.”

    Next: The study

    Colleen E. McCarthy
    Colleen McCarthy is a freelance writer based in the Cleveland area and a former editor of Optometry Times. She is a 2010 graduate of the ...

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