Impact of Target Distance, Target Size, and Visual Acuity on the Video Head Impulse Test

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The video head impulse test (vHIT) assesses the vestibulo-ocular reflex. Few have evaluated whether environmental factors or visual acuity influence the vHIT. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of target distance, target size, and visual acuity on vHIT outcomes. Thirty-eight normal controls and 8 subjects with vestibular loss (VL) participated. vHIT was completed at 3 distances and with 3 target sizes. Normal controls were subdivided on the basis of visual acuity. Corrective saccade frequency, corrective saccade amplitude, and gain were tabulated. In the normal control group, there were no significant effects of target size or visual acuity for any vHIT outcome parameters; however, gain increased as target distance decreased. The VL group demonstrated higher corrective saccade frequency and amplitude and lower gain as compared with controls. In conclusion, decreasing target distance increases gain for normal controls but not subjects with VL. Preliminarily, visual acuity does not affect vHIT outcomes.

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