Orientation discrimination and variability of torsional eye position in congenital nystagmus

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Abstract

Thresholds for discriminating the orientation of unreferenced horizontal and vertical lines were measured in subjects with congenital nystagmus (CN) and normal observers and compared to the variability of torsional eye position. Orientation thresholds were determined for horizontal and vertical lines between 0.7° and 5.6° in length, that were presented binocularly for 20-1280 ms. The variability of torsional eye position was assessed using the magnetic search coil technique. Orientation thresholds improved with line length and stimulus duration in both groups of observers. Some of the subjects with CN exhibited poorer than normal thresholds, particularly when the length of the line was short. In addition, orientation discrimination in the subjects with CN was consistently anisotropic, with significantly lower thresholds for horizontal than vertical lines. The standard deviations of torsional eye position were larger in the subjects with CN than in normal observers. However, orientation thresholds were poorer than expected from the variability of torsional eye position in normal observers, and better than expected on the basis of torsional variability in some of the subjects with CN. These results imply that torsional variability does not limit normal orientation thresholds and that torsional eye movements in CN are compensated partially by extraretinal signals. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Ukwade, M. T., Bedell, H. E., & White, J. M. (2002). Orientation discrimination and variability of torsional eye position in congenital nystagmus. Vision Research, 42(20), 2395–2407. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0042-6989(02)00199-2

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