The effects of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) on eye movement abnormalities in 60 military servicemembers with at least one mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) from combat were examined in a single-center, randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled, prospective study at the Naval Medicine Operational Training Center. During the 10 wk of the study, each subject was delivered a series of 40, once a day, hyperbaric chamber compressions at a pressure of 2.0 atmospheres absolute (ATA). At each session, subjects breathed one of three preassigned oxygen fractions (10.5%, 75%, or 100%) for 1 h, resulting in an oxygen exposure equivalent to breathing either surface air, 100% oxygen at 1.5 ATA, or 100% oxygen at 2.0 ATA, respectively. Using a standardized, validated, computerized eye tracking protocol, fixation, saccades, and smooth pursuit eye movements were measured just prior to intervention and immediately postintervention. Between- and within-groups testing of pre- and postintervention means revealed no significant differences on eye movement abnormalities and no significant main effect for HBO2 at either 1.5 ATA or 2.0 ATA equivalent compared with the sham-control. This study demonstrated that neither 1.5 nor 2.0 ATA equivalent HBO2 had an effect on postconcussive eye movement abnormalities after mTBI when compared with a sham-control.

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Copyright © 2014 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This article first appeared in Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development 51:7 (2014), 1047-1056.

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