EMDR effects on pursuit eye movements

PLoS One. 2010 May 21;5(5):e10762. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010762.

Abstract

This study aimed to objectivize the quality of smooth pursuit eye movements in a standard laboratory task before and after an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) session run on seven healthy volunteers. EMDR was applied on autobiographic worries causing moderate distress. The EMDR session was complete in 5 out of the 7 cases; distress measured by SUDS (Subjective Units of Discomfort Scale) decreased to a near zero value. Smooth pursuit eye movements were recorded by an Eyelink II video system before and after EMDR. For the five complete sessions, pursuit eye movement improved after their EMDR session. Notably, the number of saccade intrusions-catch-up saccades (CUS)-decreased and, reciprocally, there was an increase in the smooth components of the pursuit. Such an increase in the smoothness of the pursuit presumably reflects an improvement in the use of visual attention needed to follow the target accurately. Perhaps EMDR reduces distress thereby activating a cholinergic effect known to improve ocular pursuit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition
  • Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pursuit, Smooth / physiology*
  • Saccades / physiology
  • Task Performance and Analysis