The way people with Parkinson’s use their eyes to complete simple tasks in both the real world and working at computers is being investigated by neuroscientists – and the findings could help early diagnosis and improve their quality of life. Neuroscientists at the University of Lincoln, a top 10 university in the UK, have been investigating jerky movements of the eyes – termed “multi-stepping”. The researchers used special software to monitor tiny but significant eye movements when subjeets sat at a computer and found that people with Parkinson’s organize their eye movements less efficiently than people without the condition during problem solving and memory tasks. The researchers are now also using portable eye trackers to examine natural eye movements in real world tasks to improve understanding of how the condition affects day-to-day life. The finding have the potential to help in early diagnosis of Parkinson’s and in assessing cognitive impairments. For example, UK participants with and without Parkinson’s were asked to perform a computerized eye movement task where they were given a series of rules such as looking to the left when a black dot appeared on the screen, or centralizing their gaze when presented with a red stimulus. The eye tracker equipment then monitored how closely they were able to follow the rules, and how much their eyes moved. Overall, the study found that people with Parkinson’s were slower to learn new instructions compared with participants without the disease.