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Clinical research

Exploring biomarkers in clinical research

There is a strong connection between deficits in eye movements and various underlying brain disorders and injuries. Clinical researchers use eye tracking to explore biomarkers for cognitive impairment, enabling new tools for diagnosis, rehabilitation, and treatment.

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Types of research eye trackers

Eye trackers typically come in the form of a screen-based (embedded or externally mounted) solution, as a wearable pair of glasses, or embedded in a VR headset.

Tobii Pro Spectrum Emotion recognition

What you can measure with eye tracking

Whatever the physical form, eye tracking can deliver the information needed to:

  • Measure or guide attentional processes using fixation duration and location.
  • Measure the brain's ability to execute or suppress reflexive eye movements with saccade and anti-saccade tests.
  • Measure a person’s ability to fixate on a moving object using smooth-pursuit tasks.
  • Assess emotional responses and cognitive workload based on pupillary responses.

Fields of research

Eye tracking can measure the kinds of subtle eye movements that are linked to cognitive impairment and has become instrumental in clinical research, in areas such as:

  • Neurodegenerative disorders — Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s.

  • Neuropsychiatric disorders — depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and eating-disorders.

  • Neurological conditions — concussion, traumatic brain injury, and stroke.

  • Ophthalmology – visual field, lazy eye, and strabismus.

  • As well as dyslexia, language disabilities, and drug use.

Research setups for clinical studies

Tobii Pro Spectrum and GSR Shimmer with stimulus

Screen-based for the lab

For lab environments, our screen-based eye trackers, Tobii Pro Spectrum and Tobii Pro Fusion, produce visual stimuli on a screen and work together with Tobii Pro Lab to deliver insights on study participant reactions.

Tobii Pro Fusion being used in a lab environment

Screen-based for the field

You can connect the plug-and-play Tobii Pro Fusion eye tracker to any screen at a hospital, clinic, or research center to collect data in the field in a nonintrusive way. Works together with Tobii Pro Lab to deliver insights on behavior.

Baby looking at puppets using Spectrum

Standalone for the lab

If your study requires that patients observe or interact with physical objects or another person, you can use Tobii Pro Spectrum in standalone mode. Works together with Tobii Pro Lab to deliver insights on behavior.

Clinical research

Wearable for the real world

Designed for on-the-go data capture, our Tobii Pro Glasses 3 wearable eye tracker allows patients to interact and move around freely, and enables you to design studies that closely reflect real-world scenarios — for the lab and the field.

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Customer stories

Eye tracking for vision research

Cardiff University's School of Optometry and Vision Sciences used eye tracking from Tobii Pro to explore eye movement in people with sight issues. The researchers looked at how environmental factors affected vision deficits.

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We've launched a new eye tracker!

Tobii Pro Spark is our new entry-level research eye tracker, offering attention data and powerful insights to more researchers across the world.

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Eye tracking and clinical research

Non-invasive classification of Alzheimer’s disease using eye tracking and language

In this study, Barral and colleagues (2020) were the first to use eye tracking in combination with speech analysis with the goal of developing an accurate and non-invasive screening tool for early prediction of Alzheimer's. By coding the Cookie Theft picture into areas of interest, the researchers fused eye tracking data — fixation, saccades, and pupil size — with language data. They concluded that such an approach is promising because eye movement combined with speech data increases the likelihood of detecting at-risk individuals.

Validation of a velocity-based algorithm to quantify saccades during walking and turning in mild traumatic brain injury and healthy controls

Stuart and colleagues (2019) used Tobii's wearable eye tracking solution to measure saccadic eye movements in patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). The study participants, people with mTBI and healthy controls, carried out a series of walking and turning tests. The objective was to develop a robust algorithm to process raw mobile eye tracker data for mTBI.

Visual attention to emotional faces in adolescents with social anxiety disorder receiving cognitive behavioral therapy

Högström and colleagues (2019) investigated attention bias in young people with social anxiety disorder (SAD). They used screen-based eye tracking to measure visual attention, enabling them to compare how non-anxious and SAD adolescents react to pictures of angry, neutral, and happy faces as well as social stimuli. With this setup, the researchers could measure latency to attend and disengage from stimuli and evaluate the impact of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

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Healthcare technology

Healthcare technology

Eye tracking technology empowers quick and early diagnosis of potentially life altering diseases and helps in the long-term treatment of certain disorders and disabilities.

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Enabling success

Tobii offers tailored support to address research needs throughout your journey with Tobii’s eye tracking.

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Tobii Funding support services

Tobii Funding support services help you improve your grant proposals for research that includes eye tracking in its methodology

Tobii Connect

Tobii Connect

Tobii Connect delivers product documentation, how-to guides, and answers to FAQs as well as access to software updates. Our customer care services help with any technical issues concerning Tobii products.

Tobii Academy

Tobii Academy

Tobii Academy our online learning platform, helping you ensure study success at every step of the way from study design to interpreting your eye tracking data.

Publications

Camero, R., Martínez, V., & Gallego, C. (2021). Gaze following and pupil dilation as early diagnostic markers of autism in Toddlers. Children, 8(2), 113. https://doi.org/10.3390/children8020113

Tsitsi, P., Benfatto, M. N., Seimyr, G. Ö., Larsson, O., Svenningsson, P. P., & Markaki, I. (2021). Fixation Duration and Pupil Size as Diagnostic Tools in Parkinson’s Disease. Journal of Parkinson's Disease, (Preprint), 1-11.

Hunfalvay, M., Murray, N. P., & Carrick, F. R. (2021). Fixation stability as a biomarker for differentiating mild traumatic brain injury from age matched controls in pediatrics. Brain injury, 35(2), 209-214.

Kleberg, J. L., Hanqvist, C., Serlachius, E., & Högström, J. (2019). Pupil dilation to emotional expressions in adolescent social anxiety disorder is related to treatment outcome. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 65, 26-33.

Parvaz, M. A., Malaker, P., Zilverstand, A., Moeller, S. J., Alia-Klein, N., & Goldstein, R. Z. (2021). Attention bias modification in drug addiction: Enhancing control of subsequent habits. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(23).