Introduction A significant population of our wounded veterans suffer long-term functional consequences of visual deficit, disorientation, dizziness, and an impaired ability to read. These symptoms may be related to damage within the otolith pathways that contribute to ocular alignment. The purpose of this study was to compare perception of vertical and torsional ocular alignment between veterans and healthy controls in an upright and supine test position. Materials and methods Veterans (n = 26) with reports of dizziness were recruited from the East Orange Veterans Administration Hospital. Healthy controls (n = 26) were recruited from both Johns Hopkins University and the East Orange VA. Each subject performed 20 trials each of a novel vertical and torsional binocular alignment perception test. Veterans underwent semicircular canal and otolith pathway function testing. Results 88% of the Veterans had an absent otolith response. Only the veterans had an abnormally large variability in perception of both vertical and torsional ocular alignment, and in both upright and supine position. Neither post-traumatic stress disorder, nor depression contributed to the misperception in binocular alignment. Conclusions Our novel method of measuring vertical and torsional misalignment distinguishes veterans with dizziness from healthy controls. The high prevalence of absent otolith function seems to explain this result. Further studies are needed to better understand the fundamental mechanism responsible for the increased variability of perception of binocular alignment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)