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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 Apr;956:297-305.

Adaptive control of vergence in humans.

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University of California at Berkeley, School of Optometry, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


Vergence eye alignment minimizes horizontal, vertical, and cyclodisparities to optimize stereo-depth perception. Only the horizontal component of vergence is under voluntary control. Couplings with voluntary version and horizontal vergence guide vertical vergence and cyclovergence. Can these couplings be modified in response to sensory demands on binocular vision? We have modified vertical vergence and cyclovergence in response to optical changes in disparity. Vertical vergence was stimulated with aniseikonic lenses that exaggerated vertical disparity in tertiary gaze. Vertical vergence adapted in an hour to produce nonconcomitant changes in vertical phoria that varied with vertical eye position in tertiary gaze. Cyclovergence was stimulated with cyclodisparities that varied with gaze elevation and convergence angle. Cyclovergence adapted within 2 hours to produce nonconcomitant changes in cyclophoria that varied with gaze elevation and convergence. The adaptive couplings for vertical vergence and cyclovergence are modeled as a combination of passive orbital mechanics and active gain control of the vertical recti and obliques. Vergence adaptation is a calibration process that adjusts the innervation for horizontal, vertical, and torsion components of vergence to the physical constraints set by the extraocular muscles and orbital connective tissues. Passive orbital mechanics simplify the neural control for precise vertical vergence and cyclovergence that are needed to achieve binocular alignment under open-loop conditions in response to perceived spatial location.

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