Concussion – Visual Tracking Horizontally with Pencil

Hi, this is Dana Ranahan from Body Works Sports Physiotherapy. Today I want to show you an exercise that we use to help with concussive injuries, or whiplash associated injuries. When we have injuries to the head and neck, we can get some involvement with our eyes. So this is a visual tracking exercise.

To do this exercise:

  • Grab an object like a pencil (you can use your thumb, if you prefer).
  • Hold it about arms length in front of you while maintaining a good posture through your neck
  • We want you to be able to focus on the pencil and not have it blurry
  • We’re going to work on horizontally moving the pencil side to side, trying to keep our head steady, and our eyes tracking the pencil.

So we’re maintaining a solid posture with our neck and trying to let our eyes smoothly track side to side. Usually we would work this as far as we can comfortably go, while maintaining our head position. So we don’t want to see our head move with us. The head needs to stay neutral. We can also work this one eye at a time.

If you’re covering the eye, just be gentle on your eye – don’t squish it.

Work on individual eye strength

  • Cover one eye and do 5-10 repetitions
  • Switch to the opposite eye for 5-10 repetitions
  • Then do both eyes together for 5-10 repetitions, making sure to keep your head steady.

If you have any symptoms with this, please stop.

Sometimes we’ll get eye fatigue, which will improve as you do this exercise. But if you’re having headaches or other symptoms, then stop and have your practitioner re-evaluate for you.