Oculomotor Disorders

Eye movements are the fastest and most frequent in the human body.

Around each eye, six extra-ocular muscles normally work together in a sophisticated way to precisely control eye movements. The eye movement control system is complex and highly integrated between the brain, the vestibular system and the cerebellum. The function of the eyes goes beyond vision, it exposes to learning and cognitive function.

Oculomotor dysfunction is a relatively common visual condition that can affect people of all ages.

Eye movement can directly affect reading ability, how to follow words on a page, reading sentences from right to left, depth perception and eye-hand coordination.


A person with an oculomotor dysfunction will have difficulty following from one line to the next, skipping sentences or words while reading. He or she will have difficulty copying notes from the chart. She will have illegible handwriting and double vision.

When extra-ocular muscles do not coordinate properly, several visual problems can occur, generally affecting the following functions:

  • Fixation; the ability to maintain a constant direction of the eyes on the target/object.

  • Convergence / Divergence; the ability of the eyes to move inward / outward to focus on an object as it moves toward / away from the object. To look at an object up close, the eyes turn toward each other (convergence), while for a more distant object they turn away from each other (divergence).

  • Gentle Pursuit; the ability to follow a moving object smoothly and accurately.

  • Saccades; the ability of the eyes to jump from one place to another with precision.


Oculomotor dysfunction is a relatively common visual condition that can affect people of all ages, usually due to developmental delay or as a result of a concussion (MCI) or more severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Without treatment, people with this disease usually develop or use compensatory techniques, which can lead to fatigability.

Those with this condition often have difficulty with:

  • General reading skills, such as speed and comprehension, using the finger to follow, not being able to cross the centerline (pausing in the middle of sentences to adjust the eyes to continue reading)

  • Poor coordination or clumsiness

  • Practice of sports

  • Difficulty with attention and concentration

  • Disorientation

  • Motion Sickness

At the ChiroHamel Clinic, we evaluate eye movements during the neurological examination and we have the equipment to measure them. In partnership with your optometrist, we can support healthy oculomotor function.

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