Tracking Problems (Eye Movement Problems)

In order to see properly the eyes must move accurately, smoothly and quickly from word to word or from one target to another target.  Every time a child looks from the board to the book, for instance, the eyes must accurately jump from one target to another,  The same is true for reading.

An eye movement problem may occur when a child’s visual system has not developed as expected.  Tracking, in such a case, is inaccurate, slow and may interfere with reading and school performance.  A child who has good decoding skills and a normal sight vocabulary may still experience reading problems.  If so, a tracking problem is one possible factor that should be investigated.

If the eye movement system is not functioning properly the information received by the brain does not accurately represent the information in the book or on the board.  The information received by the brain is only as accurate as the eye movements and tracking of the eyes.

Common Symptoms

People that have tracking problems may complain of the following:

  • Frequent loss of place when reading
  • Skipping lines
  • Trouble copying from the board
  • Need to use a finger or guide when reading
  • Normal decoding skills but poor reading comprehension
  • Short attention span

Treatment Options

Eye movement problems are unrelated to optics, so the use of eyeglasses is not an effective treatment approach.  Vision Therapy can be used to treat eye movement disorders.  Vision Therapy involves weekly office visits where the patient is given selected sequenced activities.  This treatment is designed to develop accurate and efficient eye movements.  The success of Vision Therapy has been well documented in scientific literature.

Exam / Visit Expectations

Comprehensive Eye Exam

A comprehensive evaluation of a patient’s level of vision, need for possible glasses correction, and a thorough evaluation of ocular health.  Additional testing of eye alignment, depth perception, and color vision are performed.

Visual Motor Skills
A comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s visual motor system’s ability to track and change visual fixation, maintain and accurately change focus, and to maintain the efficient use of two eyes functioning together.

Patient Resources or at home actions

College of Optometrists in Vision Development
Other Extension Program Foundation
Parents Active for Vision Education