Sport-specific differences in dynamic visual acuity and gaze stabilization in division-I collegiate athletes

C. Quintana, N. R. Heebner, A. D. Olson, J. P. Abt, M. C. Hoch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The vestibular-ocular reflex (VOR) integrates the vestibular and ocular systems to maintain gaze during head motion. This reflex is often negatively affected following sport-related concussion. Objective measures of gaze stability, a function mediated by the VOR, such as the computerized dynamic visual acuity test (DVAT) and gaze stabilization test (GST), may have utility in concussion management. However, normative data specific to sport, sex, or concussion history have not been established in collegiate athletes. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to establish normative values for the DVAT and GST in collegiate athletes and explore the effect of sport, sex, and concussion history on VOR assessments. METHODS: The DVAT and GST were completed by 124 collegiate athletes (72 male, 52 female, mean±SD, age: 19.71±1.74 years, height: 173.99±13.97 cm, weight: 80.06±26.52 kg) recruited from Division-I athletic teams (football, soccer and cheerleading). The DVAT and GST were performed in the rightward and leftward directions during a single session in a standardized environment. Normative values for DVAT and GST measures were expressed as percentiles. Non-parametric statistics were used to compare differences between groups based on sex, sport, and concussion history. Alpha was set a-priori at 0.05. RESULTS: Overall, the median LogMAR unit for 124 athletes completing the DVAT was 0 (IQR = 0.17) for both leftward and rightward. The median velocities achieved on the GST were 145 °/sec and 150 °/sec (IQR = 45 and 40) for the leftward and rightward directions respectively. Significant differences were observed between sports (p = 0.001-0.17) for the GST with cheerleading demonstrating higher velocities than the other sports. However, no significant differences were identified based on sex (p≥0.09) or history of concussion (p≥0.15). CONCLUSIONS: Normative estimates for the DVAT and GST may assist in the clinical interpretation of outcomes when used in post-concussion evaluation for collegiate athletes. Although sex and previous concussion history had no effect on the DVAT or GST, performance on these measures may be influenced by type of sport. Sport-related differences in the GST may reflect VOR adaptations based on individual sport-specific demands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-257
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Vestibular Research: Equilibrium and Orientation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

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© 2020 - IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Clinical Neurology


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