Rehabilitate Communications Between the Eyes and the Brain


Measuring eye movements help researchers understand the communication between eyes and brain.

The human eye captures light and stimuli, but ultimately it is the brain that “sees” – interpreting electrical signals and directing the movement of the eyes. Healthy vision relies on the communication between the eyes and the brain. Disruptions in the small unconscious movements of the eyes can be an early indicator of vision loss; it is frequently used to help diagnose eye disease before a child can speak. New scientific research is suggesting that eye movement may also help evaluate brain disorders such as Alzheimer Disease.

Due to the adaptability (plasticity) of the human brain, it is possible to re-train the brain to overcome abnormal eye movements or to maximize limited vision associated with eye disease. This is key to visual rehabilitation. Scientists at the Donald K Johnson Eye Institute are studying the changes that occur in the brain when abnormal eye movements occur, in order to better understand when and how rehabilitation should be done.

For example, Martin Steinbach, Donald K Johnson Eye Institute scientist, has done extensive studies of how a child’s vision is impacted when one eye is removed. While such surgery does cause permanent limits in how movement is processed, his work has shown that substantial adaptation to the vision loss can occur, and has helped develop techniques to support rehabilitation established current standards of care in this field.

The Donald K Johnson Eye Institute scientists continues to shape knowledge and care around rehabilitation practices. Current areas of interest include:

Low vision specialists and other rehabilitation professionals with the Donald K Johnson Eye institute frequently collaborate with our scientists to improve rehabilitation care practices.