Daniel Gallucci

Jun 6

What Are Pursuits?

What Are Pursuits?

A pursuit is a type of eye movement in which the eyes remain fixated on a moving object.

Why Pursuits?

The purpose of pursuit-based eye movements is to enable the clear vision of objects in your visual environment. This requires a continuous neurological communication system involving multiple regions of the brain. “Continuous” is the operative word here, as the inability to keep the activity constant results in a slip of the image on your visual system.

Pursuits are designed to drive blood flow and oxygen into all four lobes of your brain through the activation of multiple neurological networks. Many of these networks are similar to horizontal pursuits with the exception of some higher brainstem targets (rostral nucleus reticularis tegmenti pontis and y-group nucleus).

Reduced blood flow in these areas has been correlated with many physical and behavioral disorders, and can potentially differentiate between moderate and severe levels of traumatic brain injury.

Pursuits are an amazing way to calm and prepare the mind to be able to better handle whatever situation life throws your way.

Daily Nuro Brain Flows

You will see Pursuits throughout many of our daily Nuro Brain Flows. This is a staple visual movement for us.

Pursuits are one of our go to clinical strategies as a way to calm the brain and create better balance within it and the spinal cord (CNS). Research has also shown that pursuits can reduce stress and anxiety levels.

Pursuits in the Real World

You’re having your morning coffee on your back deck, when a rare bald eagle emerges overhead. You marvel at her grace, beauty, and precision as she zips back and forth, almost dancing for your wanting eyes.

The bald eagle is a real-world example of visual pursuits.

A bald eagle flies with mountains in the far background.

Pursuits in Clinic

Once you can move and follow a target, you want the ability to keep your eyes on that target for as long as necessary. This is necessary despite a phenomenon known as “visual fade” where your visual system habituates to persistent stimuli and goes searching for new stimuli.

This is amazing to witness in a clinic; take a military personnel sniper, for example, and watch as they practice pursuits. They have the natural ability to wonderfully inhibit the visual fade response and activate specific neural integrators to keep their eyes locked on a target.