IMAGE: The positions of the right (red) and left (blue) eyelids during a stimulated blink are tracked over time using image processing. The technique produces rapid, non-invasive, and objective measurements of… view more
Credit: Reproduced with permission from Tsai NT, et al, IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine, Epub Dec. 12, 2017. doi: 10.1109/JTEHM.2017.2782669.
The blink reflex has been shown to be sensitive to a number of neurological insults, including traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease, suggesting that it could be a useful tool for neurological assessment. Although electromyography (EMG)-derived time metrics were used to analyze the blink reflex as early as the 1950s, quantitative assessment of the blink response was never adopted widely in clinical practice, in part because existing technology was somewhat cumbersome and uncomfortable. Moreover, EMG is a highly sensitive technology requiring strict ambient parameters and was not easily performed outside the health care setting, limiting the applications of the blink reflex as a diagnostic indicator of neurological health. Advances in video and computer technology — including improved digital image capture,