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Ocular Motor Dysfunction – Deficiencies of Saccadic Eye Movements


A sensorimotor anomaly of the oculomotor system whose characteristic feature is the inability to perform accurate, effective ocular saccadic and/or fixational eye movement patterns.



The signs and symptoms associated with ocular motor dysfunction may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. difficulty visually tracking and/or following objects
  2. loss of place, repetition, and/or omission of words and/or lines of print while reading
  3. need to utilize a marker to avoid loss of place
  4. transposition when copying from one source document to another
  5. diminished accuracy
  6. inaccurate/inconsistent work product
  7. reduced efficiency and/or productivity
  8. inaccurate eye-hand coordination
  9. abnormal postural adaptation/abnormal working distance (ICD: 3)
  10. spatial disorientation/dizziness/motion sickness (ICD: 3XXA)
  11. inconsistent visual attention/concentration or distractibility while performing visually demanding tasks
  12. difficulty sustaining near visual function
  13. general fatigue
  14. incoordination/clumsiness (ICD: 8)




Ocular motor dysfunction is characterized by one or more of the following diagnostic findings:

  1. increased saccadic latency
  2. decreased saccadic accuracy
  3. accuracy of ocular saccades below expecteds
  4. difficulty separating head/body and eye movements
  5. difficulty sustaining adequate saccadic eye movement under cognitive demands
  6. inability to follow targets in proper sequence
  7. need for tactile/kinesthetic reinforcement while performing ocular motor activities
  8. inability to adequately sustain fixation/erratic fixation
  9. abnormal findings in electro-oculography studies
  10. increased time required to perform tasks dependent upon saccadic eye movements


The doctor of optometry determines appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic modalities, and frequency of evaluation and follow-up, based on the urgency and nature of the patient’s conditions and unique needs. Vision disorders that are not totally cured through vision therapy may still be ameliorated with significant improvement in visual function and quality of life. The management of the case and duration of treatment would be affected by:

  1. the severity of symptoms and diagnostic factors, including onset and duration of the problem
  2. the complications of associated visual conditions
  3. implications of patient’s general health, cognitive development, physical development, and effects of medications taken
  4. etiological factors
  5. extent of visual demands placed upon the individual
  6. patient compliance and involvement in the prescribed therapy regimen
  7. type, scope, and results of prior interventions



The goal of the prescribed treatment regimen is to address the diagnostic factors and alleviate the presenting signs and symptoms associated with the diagnosed condition. Most ocular motor dysfunctions require optometric vision therapy which incorporates the prescription of specific treatments in order to:

  1. develop accurate fixational skills and ocular saccades
  2. integrate saccades with other ocular motor skills
  3. integrate ocular motor skills with accurate motor responses as well as with sensory skills (vestibular, kinesthetic, tactile, and auditory)
  4. integrate ocular motor skills with vergence and accommodative systems
  5. integrate ocular motor skills with information processing



The following treatment ranges are provided as a guide. Treatment duration will depend upon the particular patient’s condition and associated circumstances. When duration of treatment beyond these ranges is required, documentation of the medical necessity for additional treatment services may be warranted for third-party claims processing and review purposes.

  1. Deficiencies in saccadic eye movement seldom occur as an isolated condition. The most commonly encountered deficiencies in saccadic eye movement usually require 12 hours of office therapy, in addition to therapy provided for concurrent
  2. Deficiencies in saccadic eye movement require substantially more office therapy, if complicated by associated conditions such as head trauma, cerebral vascular accident, and/or other systemic conditions.



At the conclusion of the active treatment regimen, periodic follow-up evaluation is required. Should signs, symptoms, or other diagnostic factors recur, further therapy may be medically necessary.

Therapeutic lenses may be prescribed during or at the conclusion of active vision therapy to assist in the maintenance of long-term stability.