The Vestibular – Ocular Reflex is a reflex between our inner ear and our eyes. This reflex is important in allowing our vision/eyes to remain stable during head movements.
How does this Reflex works?
Anytime we turn our head, fluid moves in the inner ear. This causes negative pressure in one ear, and positive pressure in the other. In this “push-pull phenomenon”, one ear is excited and the other is inhibited. Resultant signals cause muscles to engage and produce the corresponding movement of the eye. As a result of this process, the head and eyes move equal and opposite to one another.
What happens when the reflex is not working properly?
A common complaint is feeling dizzy, or unsteady when in busy environments. It also causes blurred vision when in motion, such as when walking or driving. This happens due to poor compensatory movements of the eye.
What can I do to Improve this Reflex?
Exercise can get this reflex to work properly, by retraining the brain. Initially, pick out one target to keep the eyes steady on. Then move the head up and down while keep the target in focus. The reflex is working properly if you can do this at at 120 beats per minute without getting dizzy. Repeat this exercise with the head moving from side to side.