Background Many chronic neck pain patients experience problems with vision. These problems are possibly induced by deviations of the eye stabilization reflexes. It is not known whether these eye reflex alterations occur both in traumatic and non-traumatic neck pain patients. Objective To investigate if the cervico-ocular reflex (COR) and the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) are changed in tertiary care patients with prolonged, chronic neck pain with various origin of complaints. Design Cross sectional study. Methods Ninety-one chronic neck pain patients were subdivided into three groups by origin of complaints, and compared with healthy controls. COR and VOR gains were measured with an infrared eye tracking device with the subject sitting on a rotating chair in a darkened room and with the head fixed. Results Neck pain patients had a higher COR gain (median 0.41, IQR 0.289) compared with healthy controls (median 0.231, IQR 0.179). The mean COR gain did not differ between the three patient groups (Whiplash Associated Disorders 0.444 (SD 0.221); traumatic 0.397 (SD0.205); non-traumatic 0.468 (SD0.236)). There was no difference in VOR gain between the groups. Conclusion Chronic neck pain patients, who already received primary care, still have an elevated cervico-ocular reflex. The origin of complaints did not seem to be associated with this deviant oculomotor behavior.

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Keywords Cervico-ocular reflex, Chronic neck pain patients, Vestibulo-ocular reflex, Whiplash associated disorders
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Journal Musculoskeletal Science and Practice
Castelijns Ischebeck, B.K, de Vries, J, Janssen, M, van Wingerden, J-P, Kleinrensink, G.J, van der Geest, J.N, & Frens, M.A. (2017). Eye stabilization reflexes in traumatic and non-traumatic chronic neck pain patients. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice, 29, 72–77. doi:10.1016/j.msksp.2017.03.004