Tracking Eye Movements

What is eye tracking?

Eye movement tracking skills are motor skills that allow the eyes to focus on objects, move from one object to another and follow moving objects. Eye tracking is the process of measuring either the point of gaze (where one is looking) or the motion of an eye in relation to the head.

Why do we need eye tracking abilities?

Reading requires very fine eye movements to be made. As well as looking accurately and following along a line of text, children must also be able to make the fine adjustment needed to read to the end of one line, then accurately find the next one down to begin reading. If the slow tracking movements or rapid movement between fixation points that are necessary for reading are not accurate, it can present issues in reading accuracy and efficiency. 

How do eye tracking skills develop?

Fine eye tracking skills generally do not mature until children are around 5 years of age. Most children develop their eye tracking skills through play; moving around a playground, kicking or catching balls and reading picture books.

How does an eye tracking problem affect reading?

Learning to read will be difficult as the words/letters will not be seen in the order that they should appear. Difficulty with eye tracking movement generally shows up when children skip words or whole lines, start reading a word out from the middle or jumble letters in a way similar to someone with dyslexia. Sometimes children with these problems may need to use a ruler or their fingers to follow the line when reading because their eyes can’t perform this function on their own. 

What are symptoms of eye tracking problems?

  •         moves head excessively when reading.
  •         frequently loses place, skips lines when reading.
  •         uses finger to keep place.
  •         poor reading comprehension.
  •         short attention plan.

Treatment Options: 

Vision therapy eye exercises and/or spectacles

Reading lenses can sometimes be helpful to reduce symptoms, but glasses alone usually can not correct the problem. Vision therapy is highly effective in correcting eye tracking problems and produces lasting results. Vision therapy eye exercises can improve eye tracking at any age. 

At Bayside Eyecare, our behavioural optometrist can assess your child’s tracking eye movement skills and determine if they are developed to an age appropriate level. We provide in-office vision therapy with home based practice to develop tracking eye movement skills. You can get in contact with our friendly team by calling (03) 9909 5329 or complete our online form.