Poor Eye Tracking

Poor eye tracking, also called Oculomotor Dysfunction, includes eye movements from one stationary target to another (saccades) and following a moving target (pursuits). Reading involves performing multiple, rapid saccades accurately to move the eyes from word to word, a task many children find difficult. Most sports involve tracking a moving object and judging its distance and speed using pursuit eye movements.

Symptom Checklist

  • Poor reader: loses place frequently, re-reads lines, uses finger to keep place, bobs head while reading
  • Trouble copying from the board
  • Poor hand-eye coordination/trouble catching ball
  • Trouble in math: aligning columns, counting lines or dots

Deficient Saccade Eye Movements

Saccades are an eye movement from one stationary object to another. Reading requires multiple, accurate saccades in rapid succession. Some people struggle in judging the appropriate sized saccade to make. This usually stems from poor spatial organization skills, which can be trained in Vision Therapy! Saccades should be performed accurately without head movements by age 6.

Deficient Pursuit Eye Movements

Pursuits occur when we are tracking a moving object, such as a ball, a car, or something on TV. Those who make inaccurate pursuits have trouble with catching balls, are often clumsy, and may seem “lost” when walking or running. Poor Fixation skills, or the ability to look at an object, is often one of the underlying causes of pursuit deficits.


Treatment for Saccade Eye Movements

Treatment for Saccadic disorders begin in Vision Therapy with fixation skills. We must first learn to accurately fixate on targets before we can make accurate saccades! We then work extensively on improving spatial organization and awareness by improving peripheral visual skills, which help us to make accurate eye movements when reading.

Treatment for Pursuit Eye Movements

Pursuits are treated in a similar way to saccades, by first training fixation skills. We then work on improving eye movements and visual skills (such as recognition and clarity) during eye movements. We also work on improving our visual input to our body’s balance system, which helps improve the accuracy of our eye movements.

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