Did you know that the movements of your eyes can show a tremendous amount of information about your brain function overall. Medical Imagery has shown that training eye movements mimic the same circuitry as movement. To the brain you are moving your body just by moving your eyes.
There is even specialised tracking software (called RightEye) that uses a laser to track the movements of your eye, which can give a comprehensive readout of your overall brain function. How you ask? Well the movements of the eyes using the extra-occular muscles project to, and integrate across many different brain regions that all have a role in controlling movement, posture and cognition.
Some of different types of eye movements are:
Smooth pursuits, which require you to stay fixed on a moving target and are most commonly associated with the Frontal lobe, Superior Coliculli and Cerebellum and Vestibular which stabilises the tracking.
Saccades are where the eyes move from target to target very quickly such as if you are looking out the window on a train and the eyes move rapidly left to right. Saccades can be done in any direction and relate to so many areas but mostly the frontal lobe and brainstem.
We have convergence which is where your eyes move inwards as you track an object towards your nose (midbrain) and divergence where you track a target towards the horizon (pons).
Near/far which is shifting your gaze from close to your face to far away which is similar circuitry than convergence/divergence.
You have eye position isometrics which is related to the Cerebellum and some aspects of the Psyche as taught in
Vestibular Occular Reflex
Lastly the Vestibular Occular Reflex which is about keeping the eyes fixed on a target while the head is moving. This is about the integration of the vestibular system and the eye muscles and is disrupted often contributes to neck pain or dysfunction.
Here is a mini lecture with Nick, discussing the science, theory and application of these eye movements:
Vision is vastly more complex than what I have just described here and there is amazing research coming out every day to show how highly integrated and important it is for the brain. This is why it’s one of the key areas I assess with almost everyone is the visual system due to it’s importance to the brain’s awareness of itself. Any visual training is better than none, however if this is not something you have done before please consult with a practitioner who has training in this field as the wrong drill at the wrong time can have detrimental effects so it’s much better to start under supervision, especially if you had any previous head injuries or whiplash.
To get a functional neurological assessment of your visual system, please book in to see Nick in his clinic in East Brighton, Melbourne. For online bookings where Nick can assess and then send you to a suitably qualified provider in your local area email Nick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Practice with care...