Did you realize that as you’re reading this, your eyes are doing what we call saccades? Now hold up your finger and follow it with your eyes as you move it in any direction. You just did what we call a pursuit.
Saccades are rapid eye jumps, bringing our focus from one object to another. We do this everyday in our daily activities when we’re reading sentences on a screen or a page from a book. The movements are so small that it’s barely noticeable. Pursuits are smooth eye movements that involve following or tracking a moving target. This is especially important for people such as athletes who need to keep their eyes on a moving ball.
We do these two eye movements on a regular basis without much thought. However, there is an intricate system involving the brain and our eyes working together to help us execute these movements. Both saccades and pursuits are initiated by a part of the brain called the Frontal Eye Fields. This part is responsible for recognizing and identifying our objects of focus. From there, signals will be sent through a complex network to different parts of the brain that will activate our eye muscles to do a saccade or a pursuit.
Our brain and eyes are meant to work together to help us do these eye movements without difficulty. But if there is a disconnect, it could impact an individual’s lifestyle in more ways than one such as losing your place while reading a book. That is why it’s important to bring it up with your optometrist if you or your child have been struggling with this. After a comprehensive exam, they could recommend corrective lenses, visual therapy, or both to help address these visual concerns.
For any questions about vision therapy or eye concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at (714) 988-6179. Our doctors and staff are ready to help you!