When you shift the direction of our gaze, your head and eye movements are automatically coordinated with each other via the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) which is part of the vestibular system connected to the cerebellum. The VOR is a reflex eye movement that stabilizes images on the retina during head movements by automatically producing an eye movement in the opposite direction of the head movement.
The VOR keeps a target in the center of the visual field and is also a voluntary reflex that allows us to maintain eye contact. When you lock your eyes on a target and the head moves to the right, the VOR automatically moves your eyes to the left, and vice versa. Since slight head movements are omnipresent, the VOR is important for stabilizing vision and keeping us connected to the people and objects in our environment.
If your VOR and cerebellum aren’t working properly, the world around you becomes a disorienting blur. This disorder is called “oscillopsia” because it is a visual disturbance in which objects in the visual field literally appear to oscillate. Without a properly functioning cerebellum, it’s nearly impossible to make eye contact with someone in the swirling sea of stimuli and disorienting perceptions of reality.