Do you have eye tension or tiredness? Try our Visual Tracking Exercise.

Do you have headaches, neck pain or dizziness? Your eyes could be playing a role. Often felt as eye strain, if our eyes are not working well together with your neck and inner ear, it can create problems. Try our simple visual tracking exercise. If you have any concerns or questions please contact us at

Hi this is Dana Ranahan from Body Works Sports Physiotherapy in North Vancouver and today I want to talk about vision and how it plays a role in some of the symptoms that we see in the clinic here.

Often people who have had car accidents or concussions have issues like dizziness, neck pain or headaches. There can be a component from the eyes as well. Usually the upper neck, the inner ear and the eyes all play a role together. One of the things that we look at in the clinic is your ability to smoothly track something. There are different components to vision that we look at, and this one is called smooth tracking. You can do this at home.

Visual Tracking

  • Grab a pencil or a pen, focus on the tip of the pen and hold it out about arms length away from you. This ends up being about 2 or 3 feet.
  • Hold your head steady and see if you can follow that with both of your eyes.
  • Now the question is, can you focus well on that pen tip with both eyes, or is it quite challenging?
  • Usually we start this exercise with both eyes working on side to side tracking, as well as up and down tracking, trying to keep the head steady.
  • We can then add in diagonal or circular movements as well, trying to keep your head steady.
  • Your head will want to move with you a bit, but we really want to keep the head steady and work to control the eyes following the pen
  • You need to be able to maintain your head in a neutral position, ultimately working with good neck posture as well.
  • Don’t allow yourself to slouch forward.

If it’s difficult for you to focus on the pen, try working one eye at a time, switching sides. After you’ve done each eye for about 30 seconds to a minute, then try to do both eyes together. So you can work them separately and then work them together.

This is a simple exercise to try if you have headaches, dizziness or neck pain – checking your visual tracking and how easy that is for you. If you have an other questions or need more specific directions about how this can help you, check out our website resources.