Detecting Cognitive Impairment in Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension Using Ocular Motor and Neuropsychological Testing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine whether cognitive impairments in patients with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH) are correlated with changes in visual processing, weight, waist circumference, mood or headache, and whether they change over time. Methods: Twenty-two newly diagnosed IIH patients participated, with a subset assessed longitudinally at 3 and 6 months. Both conventional and novel ocular motor tests of cognition were included: Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), Stroop Colour and Word Test (SCWT), Digit Span, California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT), prosaccade (PS) task, antisaccade (AS) task, interleaved antisaccade-prosaccade (AS-PS) task. Patients also completed headache, mood, and visual functioning questionnaires. Results: IIH patients performed more poorly than controls on the SDMT (p< 0.001), SCWT (p = 0.021), Digit Span test (p< 0.001) and CVLT (p = 0.004) at baseline, and generated a higher proportion of AS errors in both the AS (p< 0.001) and AS-PS tasks (p = 0.007). Further, IIH patients exhibited prolonged latencies on the cognitively complex AS-PS task (p = 0.034). While weight, waist circumference, headache and mood did not predict performance on any experimental measure, increased retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) was associated with AS error rate on both the block [F(3, 19)=3.22, B = 0.30, p = 0.022] and AS-PS task [F(3, 20) = 2.65, B = 0.363, p = 0.013]. Unlike ocular motor changes, impairments revealed on conventional tests of cognition persisted up to 6 months. Conclusion: We found multi-domain cognitive impairments in IIH patients that were unrelated to clinical characteristics. Marked ocular motor inhibitory control deficits were predicted by RNFL thickness but remained distinct from other cognitive changes, underscoring the significance of visual processing changes in IIH.

Original languageEnglish
Article number772513
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2021


  • cognitive impairments
  • idiopathic intracranial hypertension
  • inhibitory control
  • neuropsychology
  • ocular motor
  • visual processing

Cite this