Have you ever heard the expression, “your eyes are the windows to your soul”? There may actually be some truth to this, as your eyes can tell your doctor a great deal about your brain. That’s why, here at Plasticity Centers, a great deal of our diagnostic and neurological testing involve your eyes.
Our clients often ask us why we spend so much time evaluating their eyes, regardless of the reason they sought out our care. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing why the eyes are so important in evaluating brain function and how different types of eye movements can help triangulate regions of brain dysfunction, the first step to creating your customized treatment program.
Your eyes are a window into your brain’s performance
It’s important to understand that our assessment allows us to use your eyes as a way to objectively identify, and later measure, improved function in the corresponding regions of your brain. This is a great way to measure improvement as not only do eye movements correspond to different brain regions but also how those regions communicate with one another. Let’s go into more detail and look at different types of eye movements while discussing the different corresponding regions and networks in your brain.
The first and most foundational eye movement actually involves no movement at all. Gaze fixation, or the ability to keep your eyes focused and still, is necessary to produce more complex movements like those required for reading. It is very difficult to read, look at somebody, walk around the mall, or even watch TV if you are unable to first keep your eyes still. In fact, our state-of-the-art technology allows our clinicians to even evaluate your gaze in the dark. This test has the potential to reveal often overlooked neurological findings that could be integral in attaining your desired outcomes. The main area in your brain being evaluated when looking at gaze fixation is your brainstem.
Eye tracking and movement give us a lot of information on how to treat you
Saccades or quick eye movements are another way to evaluate different brain regions. Quick eye movements mainly evaluate specific neurological regions such as the frontal lobe, brainstem, and cerebellum. These regions are involved in a variety of functions including personality, decision making, motivation, balance, and motor coordination.
Pursuits, or eye tracking, involve focusing on an object of interest while it is in motion. An example involving pursuits in real life is watching the ball being thrown in a baseball game. This is a function that involves many regions of your cortex including a region called the parietal lobe which is often associated with perception and sensation. The breakdown of these specific eye movements may indicate decreased functionality in this area.
Here at Plasticity Centers, our clinicians are experts at evaluating eye movements and, when paired with our advanced technology, can incorporate those findings to develop a custom-tailored treatment program for your specific needs. This unique approach allows our clients to achieve their goals and once again restore hope for them and their family.