Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, MS Center and Neuro-ophthalmology Expertise Center, Neuroscience Amsterdam, de Boelelaan 1117, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Ophthalmology, Neuro-ophthalmology Expertise Center, Neuroscience Amsterdam, de Boelelaan 1117, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Electronic address: [Email]
BACKGROUND : Fatigue is one of the most common and disabling symptoms in multiple sclerosis (MS), but challenging to quantify. This prospective study investigated if repeated saccadic eye movements enable measurement of oculomotor fatigability and can reflect on perceived fatigue in MS. METHODS : A standardized infrared oculography protocol (DEMoNS) was used for quantifying saccades in MS patients and healthy controls which included a first and a repeated pro-saccadic task (FPT and RPT). Saccadic peak velocity, latency, gain, area under the curve (AUC) and peak velocity divided by amplitude (Pv/Am) were calculated in both tasks. Perception based fatigue was assessed using the Checklist Individual Strength and the Neurological Fatigue Index (NFI). Linear regression models were used for assessing the relation between saccadic parameters and perceived fatigue. RESULTS : This study included 181 MS patients and 58 healthy controls subjects. From FPT to RPT, there were significant changes in saccadic parameters. Latency of both tasks was significantly related to NFI summary score (FPT: β = 0.022, p = .049, RPT: β 0.023, p = .021). These relationships were weakened after adjustment for Expanded Disability Status score (p > .05). There was however no significant group difference in changes in saccadic parameters. CONCLUSIONS : This study presents an objective and reproducible method for measuring saccadic fatigability. Saccadic fatigability was found to be of limited use in MS, and should be tested in conditions affecting ocular muscles or the neuromuscular junction.