Last year, the FDA granted authorization for commercial use of the first tool that provides an objective diagnosis of concussions. Called EyeBox, it was developed by sisters Uzma and Rosina Samadani. Uzma was the chief of neurosurgery at Manhattan Veterans Administration Hospital when her research suggested a connection between brain injuries and restricted eye movement. What if, she wondered, computer-aided eye tracking could diagnose brain trauma? “If you can measure something, you can treat it,” she says. She founded Oculogica, and Rosina, who has a PhD in biomedical engineering, signed on to run it. By the end of 2019, some two dozen EyeBoxes were in use at medical centers, sports clinics, and other facilities. In January, the American Medical Association opened the door for insurers to cover EyeBox diagnoses, paving the way for expanded adoption.
The desktop-size EyeBox has a video screen set 153/4 inches away from a patient’s chin and forehead, and uses proprietary software to track eye movement as the patient watches a 220-second video.
The EyeBox test yields a numeric score, derived from the analysis of more than 100,000 data points collected during the exam. It not only diagnoses a concussion but can also suggest precisely where in the brain the injury has occurred.
Eye movement is controlled by cranial nerves that are impeded by brain swelling after an injury.