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Terence L. Tyson, Erin E. Flynn-Evans, Leland S. Stone; Saccade-Pursuit coordination during ocular tracking across different impairment sources. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(8):2390.
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Sleep loss (Stone et al., 2019, doi: 10.1113/JP277779) and alcohol (Tyson et al., 2020, doi: 10.1113/JP280395) have been shown to impair smooth pursuit and its underlying visual motion processing in humans. This study examines the saccadic compensation for this poor pursuit.
Using an established behavioral ocular-tracking paradigm (Liston & Stone, 2014, doi: 10.1167/14.14.12), we examined the dose-response of ground lost (pursuit deficit integrated across our 300-ms steady-state tracking interval) and ground gained (increased saccadic response harnessed to compensate) across three separate studies – acute low-dose alcohol administration (LDA; n = 16 subjects), acute sleep loss (ASL; n = 12), and chronic sleep restriction (CSR; n = 12). We computed dose-responses as the linear regression slopes of ground lost and gained across treatment dose (% blood alcohol concentration [BAC] or hours awake). For the CSR study, we computed the mean effect for a single dose (5-hours nightly sleep for 1 week).
For LDA, there was significantly increased ground lost (P < 0.001) and gained (P < 0.001) with increased %BAC. In addition, the dose-responses were not significantly different (P = 0.35), indicating effectively complete saccadic compensation due to significant increases in both saccadic rate (P < 0.05) and amplitude (P < 0.001). For ASL, there was significantly increased ground lost with time awake (P < 0.01), however ground gained was significantly lower (P < 0.001), indicating, at best, incomplete compensation due to a significant increase in saccadic rate (P < 0.001) but not amplitude (P = 0.10). With CSR, pursuit was again significantly impaired (P < 0.05), with saccadic rate significantly increased (P < 0.05) but, surprisingly, amplitude was significantly decreased (P < 0.05), effectively eliminating ground gained (P = 0.90).
Our analyses show that LDA, ASL, and CSR affect tracking differently, suggesting the involvement of different brain pathways. With LDA, the effect appears largely due to the cortical impairment of visual motion processing with largely healthy brainstem and mid-brain responses (driving effective saccadic compensation). ASL and CSR however appear to affect both cortical and sub-cortical pathways, with at best partial saccadic compensation. Lastly, CSR is associated with an additional compromise due to a maladaptive decrease in saccade amplitude.
This is a 2021 ARVO Annual Meeting abstract.
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