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J Neurophysiol. 2015 Apr 1;113(7):2150-63. doi: 10.1152/jn.00871.2014. Epub 2015 Jan 14.

Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrates compartmental muscle mechanisms of human vertical fusional vergence.

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Department of Ophthalmology, David Geffen Medical School, University of California, Los Angeles, California; and Department of Neurology, David Geffen Medical School, University of California, Los Angeles, California
Department of Ophthalmology, David Geffen Medical School, University of California, Los Angeles, California; and.


Vertical fusional vergence (VFV) normally compensates for slight vertical heterophorias. We employed magnetic resonance imaging to clarify extraocular muscle contributions to VFV induced by monocular two-prism diopter (1.15°) base-up prism in 14 normal adults. Fusion during prism viewing requires monocular infraduction. Scans were repeated without prism, and with prism shifted contralaterally. Contractility indicated by morphometric indexes was separately analyzed in medial and lateral vertical rectus and superior oblique (SO) putative compartments, and superior and inferior horizontal rectus extraocular muscle putative compartments, but in the whole inferior oblique (IO). Images confirmed appropriate VFV that was implemented by the inferior rectus (IR) medial compartment contracting ipsilateral and relaxing contralateral to prism. There was no significant contractility in the IR lateral compartment. The superior but not inferior lateral rectus (LR) compartment contracted significantly in the prism viewing eye, but not contralateral to prism. The IO contracted ipsilateral but not contralateral to the prism. In the infraducting eye, the SO medial compartment relaxed significantly, while the lateral compartment was unchanged; contralateral to prism, the SO lateral compartment contracted, while the medial compartment was unchanged. There was no contractility in the superior or medial rectus muscles in either eye. There was no globe retraction. We conclude that the vertical component of VFV is primarily implemented by IR medial compartment contraction. Since appropriate vertical rotation is not directly implemented, or is opposed, by associated differential LR and SO compartmental activity, and IO contraction, these actions probably implement a torsional component of VFV.


extraocular muscle; eye movement; magnetic resonance imaging; vertical vergence

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