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PLoS One. 2014 Apr 21;9(4):e95234. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0095234. eCollection 2014.

Kinematics of visually-guided eye movements.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Abstract

One of the hallmarks of an eye movement that follows Listing's law is the half-angle rule that says that the angular velocity of the eye tilts by half the angle of eccentricity of the line of sight relative to primary eye position. Since all visually-guided eye movements in the regime of far viewing follow Listing's law (with the head still and upright), the question about its origin is of considerable importance. Here, we provide theoretical and experimental evidence that Listing's law results from a unique motor strategy that allows minimizing ocular torsion while smoothly tracking objects of interest along any path in visual space. The strategy consists in compounding conventional ocular rotations in meridian planes, that is in horizontal, vertical and oblique directions (which are all torsion-free) with small linear displacements of the eye in the frontal plane. Such compound rotation-displacements of the eye can explain the kinematic paradox that the fixation point may rotate in one plane while the eye rotates in other planes. Its unique signature is the half-angle law in the position domain, which means that the rotation plane of the eye tilts by half-the angle of gaze eccentricity. We show that this law does not readily generalize to the velocity domain of visually-guided eye movements because the angular eye velocity is the sum of two terms, one associated with rotations in meridian planes and one associated with displacements of the eye in the frontal plane. While the first term does not depend on eye position the second term does depend on eye position. We show that compounded rotation - displacements perfectly predict the average smooth kinematics of the eye during steady- state pursuit in both the position and velocity domain.

PMID:
24751602
PMCID:
PMC3994052
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0095234
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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