Oculomotor Dysfunction and Tracking Exercises can be used with patients that have difficulty with eye-tracking or saccadic movements. Sometimes the patient may do the task fine, but it’s provocative to them, so in that case, we would want to work on it in therapy.

We’ll start with an eye-tracking exercise as part of oculomotor dysfunction and tracking exercise program. This is a very simple exercise where the patient holds a target out in front of her. She’s going to keep her head still and follow that target as her arm moves back and forth. Again Payton is doing pretty well. She’s moving pretty quickly. Our patients may need to start out moving much slower than this, but we want their heads still and their eyes following the target. Now she can stop.

We want to time that task, and we want to build on that time. Thirty seconds is a general starting point for me, but depending on your patient, you may need to start with much less time than that, such as maybe ten or fifteen seconds, or perhaps even less than that in extreme cases. If you can, though, you want to build up from that thirty seconds where they’re doing the task continuously for that time. We can also do it in a vertical direction, which she will try, and we can do it in a diagonal direction, making an X. Now she can stop.

Vestibulo-ocular movements stabilize the eyes relative to the external world, thus compensating for head movements.

Types of Eye Movements and Their Functions

Learn More about Oculomotor Dysfunction and Tracking Exercises

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Oculomotor Dysfunction and Tracking Exercises
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Saccadic Eye Movement- This is a rapid movement that abruptly changes the point of fixation in the same direction.

Vergence Movements- involve the eyes moving in different directions in order to fixate on an object.


Hall CD, Herdman SJ, Whitney SL, et al. Vestibular Rehabilitation for Peripheral Vestibular Hypofunction: An Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline: FROM THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL THERAPY ASSOCIATION NEUROLOGY SECTION. J Neurol Phys Ther. 2016;40(2):124-155. doi:10.1097/NPT.0000000000000120

van Wyk A, Eksteen CA, Rheeder P. The Effect of Visual Scanning Exercises Integrated Into Physiotherapy in Patients With Unilateral Spatial Neglect Poststroke: A Matched-Pair Randomized Control Trial. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair. 2014;28(9):856-873. doi:10.1177/1545968314526306