Transdisciplinary Group Collaborates on Sideline Visual Test for Concussion Screening

Dr. Steve Devick, a 1976 graduate of the Illinois College of Optometry, is best known for his collaboration while an ICO student with classmate Alan King, resulting in the King-Devick Saccade Test.  The K-D Test has been widely used through the years as a measure of saccade function primarily as related to reading.  Dr. Devick has been quiet on the optometric scene, involved in a number of entrepreneurial pursuits rather than with saccades, while the DEM Test has largely displaced the K-D in regular usage, but has just burst back onto the scene as co-author of a significant paper in the current issue of Neurology.  From the Departments of Neurology, Ophthalmology, and Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, this multidisciplinary paper is garnering significant attention by the media, particularly with recent attention to recurrent concussions sustained in football.

The results thus far in using the K-D Test to establish baseline speed scores for saccades, which brain injury subsequently compromises are promising.  Optometrists involved in neuro-optometric rehabilitation will see renewed potential in the test for its applicability in judging successful rehabilitative efforts through vision therapy.

– Leonard J. Press, O.D., FCOVD, FAAO

7 thoughts on “Transdisciplinary Group Collaborates on Sideline Visual Test for Concussion Screening

  1. This is an exciting modified application of the KD test. From over 25 years of studies published and experience with the DEM, I believe there is still more work to be completed on the KD as a screening test. I commend the authors for this refreshing new use of the KD test and look forward to see more information on its use.

  2. I’ve used the King-Devick for years as a tool to communicate with patients/parents and educators regarding problems with saccades leading to reading/writing difficulties. This is a very interesting a potentially valuable use of this instrument in early recognition of a concussion and consequently earlier intervention.

  3. Nice and interesting finding. Simple and rapid does not mean bad!

    A few years ago, Neera Kapoor and I performed the DEM test on mTBI patients, and we found it to be a good discriminator between mTBI and normals, with those having had their mTBI many months to years before our testing. Unfortunately, only now are we beginning to put together the findings for publication.

    This is a welcome addition to our clinical mTBI armamentarium!

  4. I have been using this test for MANY years to evaluate the progress of brain injuried patients and am happy to know that others have also found it useful. Will new norms be coming out for ages 15+? This would be helpful although it is not necessary since I am using the patient’s pre therapy scores vs. mid therapy scores and end of therapy scores to monitor progress.

    • I don’t know about norms for 15+, Marlene, because the test asymptotes to adult levels by then. So for concussion purposes, they are using the athlete’s fastest score as baseline against which to compare change.

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