Melbourne School of Health SciencesDepartment of Optometry & Vision Sciences

Eye Movement Laboratory

Research Team

National & International Collaborators

The Eye Movement Laboratory is directed by Dr Larry A Abel, it addresses a range of problems relating to eye movement control in both clinical populations as well as in normal subjects. The major themes of the research are briefly described below, although other diverse studies have also been undertaken as part of Honours or Postgraduate student research.

Nystagmus & Other Ocular Oscillations

This has been a major component of my research for more than 25 years. Some of the themes include:

Eye Movements in Neurodegenerative Diseases

This has been a focus of collaborative activity for many years as well. Recent studies have examined saccadic eye movements in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, looking at the ways in which saccadic abnormalities could be used to gain insights into specific aspects of the disease processes. A collaboration with the Neuropsychiatry Centre has examined brain activity during volitional saccades in young people at very high risk of developing psychosis. Another collaboration with Neuropsychiatry has studied eye movements in Niemann-Pick Type C disease, looking at changes over time in treated and untreated patients.

Eye Movements & Ageing

Recent studies have identified for the first time a number of saccadic eye movement features which are severely impaired in some healthy elderly individuals, as well as others which appear to survive intact.

Eye Movements & Cognition

This broad descriptor includes studies which have examined visual memory, prediction and attention. Some recent examples of this have included ageing-related analyses as well, since early detection of elderly individuals showing potential signs of dementia will be of increasing importance as effective treatments for disorders such as Alzheimer's disease become available. Some projects have been:

Saccadic Eye Movements and Traumatic Brain Injury

In a study funded by the Victorian Neurotrauma Initiative, we are collaborating with A/Prof. Jacinta Douglas of La Trobe University on an investigation concerning whether the minority of children who have ongoing problems after suffering a mild head injury can be identified by performance on a battery of reflexively and volitionally controlled fast eye movement tasks.

Saccadic and Pupillary Iindicators of Fatigue

In a study supported by DSO National Laboratories, Singapore, we are looking at several eye movement and pupillary measures during simulated driving to evaluate whether some combination of these may be useful in detecting fatigue in drivers before it is severe enough to impair performance.

Selected Recent Publications

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