Analysis of foveation sequences in congenital nystagmus

Giulio Pasquariello, P. Bifulco, M. Cesarelli, M. Romano, A. Fratini

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Congenital nystagmus (CN) is an ocular-motor disorder that appears at birth or during the first few months of life; it is characterised by involuntary, conjugated, bilateral to and fro ocular oscillations. Pathogenesis of congenital nystagmus is still unknown. Eye movement recording allow to extract and analyse nystagmus main features such as shape, amplitude and frequency; depending on the morphology of the oscillations nystagmus can be classified in different categories (pendular, jerk, horizontal unidirectional, bidirectional). In general, CN patient show a considerable decrease of the visual acuity: image fixation on the retina is disturbed by nystagmus continuous oscillations; however, image stabilisation is still achieved during the short foveation periods in which eye velocity slows down while the target image is placed onto the fovea. Visual acuity was found to be mainly dependent on foveation periods duration, but cycle-to-cycle foveation repeatability and reduction of retinal image velocities also contribute in increasing visual acuity. This study concentrate on cycle-to-cycle image position variation onto fovea, trying to characterise the sequences of foveation positions. Eye-movement (infrared oculographic or electro oculographic) recordings, relative to different gaze positions and belonging to more than 30 CN patients, were analysed. Preliminary results suggest that sequences of foveations show a cyclic pattern with a dominant frequency (around 0.3 Hz on average) much lower than that of the nystagmus (about 3.3 Hz on average). Sequences of foveations reveals an horizontal ocular swing of more than 2 degree on average, which can explain the low visual acuity of the CN patient. Current CN therapies, pharmacological treatment or surgery of the ocular muscles, mainly aim to increase the patient's visual acuity. Hence, it is fundamental to have an objective parameter (expected visual acuity) for therapy planning. The information about sequences of foveations can improve estimation of patient visual acuity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIFMBE Proceedings
Number of pages4
Volume20 IFMBE
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Event14th Nordic-Baltic Conference on Biomedical Engineering and Medical Physics, NBC 2008 - Riga, Latvia
Duration: Jun 16 2008Jun 20 2008


Other14th Nordic-Baltic Conference on Biomedical Engineering and Medical Physics, NBC 2008


  • Congenital nystagmus
  • eye movement signal processing
  • foveation
  • visual acuity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Bioengineering


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