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Recovery of Visual Acuity in People With Vestibular Deficits

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00411216
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : December 13, 2006
Results First Posted : July 21, 2014
Last Update Posted : August 7, 2015
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Susan Herdman, Emory University

Brief Summary:
The purpose of this study is to determine whether exercises relieve the symptoms of dizziness and imbalance in people with vestibular deficits and improves the ability to see clearly during head movements. We hypothesize that the performance of specific adaptation and substitution exercises will result in an improvement in visual acuity during head movements while those patients performing placebo exercises will show no improvement.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Vestibular Neuronitis Vestibular Neuronitis, Bilateral Vestibular Schwannoma Other: Control exercises Other: gaze stabilization exercises Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

Decrements in visual acuity during head movement in patients with vestibular hypofunction are potentially serious problems. This deficit could contribute to decreased activity level, avoidance of driving with resultant diminished independence and, ultimately, limited social interactions and increased isolation. Oscillopsia occurs because of inadequate vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) gain and suggests that compensation for the vestibular loss has not occurred. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of an exercise intervention on visual acuity during head movement in patients with unilateral and bilateral vestibular hypofunction. We hypothesized that 1) patients performing vestibular exercises would have improved visual acuity during head movement compared to patients performing placebo exercises; 2) there would be no correlation between dynamic visual acuity (DVA) and the patients' subjective complaints of oscillopsia; and 3) improvement in DVA would be reflected by changes in residual vestibular function as indicated by an increase in VOR gain.

Patients are assigned randomly to either the vestibular exercise or placebo exercise group. The randomization schedule is generated using a computer program for 2-sample randomization. The sequence was not concealed from the investigator who obtained consent from the subjects and supervised the exercises (SJH). The group assignment (vestibular exercise or placebo exercise) was concealed from the participants and from the investigator who performed the outcome measures.

The vestibular exercise group practiced exercises that consisted of adaptation exercises and eye-head exercises to targets (Table 1), which were designed to improve gaze stability 16. They also performed gait and balance exercises. The placebo exercise group performed exercises designed to be 'vestibular-neutral'.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 23 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single (Participant)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Recovery of Visual Acuity in Vestibular Deficits
Study Start Date : August 2000
Actual Primary Completion Date : December 2004
Actual Study Completion Date : December 2004

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: exercises for gaze stabilization
Experimental group performed vestibular adaptation and substitution exercises
Other: gaze stabilization exercises
adaptation and substitutin exercises encorporating retinal lsip and head movements

Placebo Comparator: Control exercises
Saccadic eye movements against a Ganzfeld to prevent retinal slip error signal; no head movements
Other: Control exercises
saccadic eye movements against a plain background; no head movements

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in Visual Acuity During Head Movement From Baseline to Discharge [ Time Frame: pre-intervention and at discharge ]

    visual acuity is measured using a computerized system first with the head stationary and then with the head moving in yaw plane. Head velocity is measured using a rate sensor and optotype is displayed only when head velocity is between 120 and 180 degrees per second.

    The change in visual acuity was calculated from subtracting the discharge measurement from the baseline measurement (pre-intervention).

  2. Subjective Complaints: (All Pre- and Post-intervention): [ Time Frame: pre-intervention, 2 weeks, 4 weeks and at discharge ]

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Disability Scale [ Time Frame: pre-intervention, 2 weeks, 4 weeks and at discharge ]

  2. Activities Specific Balance Confidence Scale [ Time Frame: pre-intervention, 2 weeks, 4 weeks and at discharge ]

  3. Symptoms Intensity for Dizziness, Oscillopsia, Disequilibrium [ Time Frame: pre-intervention, 2 weeks, 4 weeks and at discharge ]
    visual analoque scales

  4. Balance and Gait [ Time Frame: pre-intervention, 2 weeks, 4 weeks and at discharge ]
    gait speed

  5. Fall Risk (Dynamic Gait Index) [ Time Frame: pre-intervention, 2 weeks, 4 weeks and at discharge ]
    performance test

  6. Eye Movements: Scleral Search Coil [ Time Frame: pre- and post-treatment ]
    eye movements are measured by having the participant sit within an electromagnetic field while wearing a scleral coil (like a contact lens but only in contact with the sclea, not the cornea); te coil moves with eye movement and distorts the electrimagnetic field

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 80 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Patient had to have either a unilateral vestibular or bilateral vestibular hypofunction defined as follows: Unilateral vestibular deficits were defined by a > 25% difference in slow phase eye velocity between right and left sides on either the caloric or rotary chair test. Bilateral vestibular deficits were defined included refixation saccades made in response to unpredictable head thrusts to the right and left, a gain < .1 on rotary chair step test and a peak slow phase eye movement of <5 degrees/sec during irrigation of each ear on bithermal water caloric testing
  • Healthy subjects with normal vestibular function test results
  • must be able to complete DVA test

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Patients with central lesions will be omitted from the study because vestibular adaptation or other compensatory mechanisms may be compromised and
  • Patients with visual acuity when the head is stationary of 20/60 or worse.
  • Patients on medication that suppress or facilitate vestibular function will not be excluded from the study but data will be analyzed to assess the effect of medication.
  • Patient who do not understand the purpose of the study and what it involves

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00411216

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United States, Georgia
Center for Rehabilitation Medicine, Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia, United States, 30322
Sponsors and Collaborators
Emory University
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
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Principal Investigator: Susan J Herdman, PhD Emory University
Publications of Results:
Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
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Responsible Party: Susan Herdman, Professor, Emory University Identifier: NCT00411216    
Other Study ID Numbers: IRB00000336
R01DC003196 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
First Posted: December 13, 2006    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: July 21, 2014
Last Update Posted: August 7, 2015
Last Verified: July 2015
Keywords provided by Susan Herdman, Emory University:
vestibular rehabilitation
vestibular hypofunction
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Neuroma, Acoustic
Vestibular Neuronitis
Guillain-Barre Syndrome
Neuroendocrine Tumors
Neuroectodermal Tumors
Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal
Neoplasms by Histologic Type
Nerve Sheath Neoplasms
Neoplasms, Nerve Tissue
Cranial Nerve Neoplasms
Nervous System Neoplasms
Neoplasms by Site
Peripheral Nervous System Neoplasms
Vestibulocochlear Nerve Diseases
Retrocochlear Diseases
Ear Diseases
Otorhinolaryngologic Diseases
Otorhinolaryngologic Neoplasms
Cranial Nerve Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Autoimmune Diseases of the Nervous System
Demyelinating Diseases
Peripheral Nervous System Diseases
Neuromuscular Diseases