Dynamics and efficacy of saccade-facilitated vergence eye movements in monkeys

  • Maxwell J
  • King W
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Abstract

1. Four macaque monkeys were trained to fixate visual targets. Eye movements were recorded binocularly using the search coil technique. Saccades, vergence movements, and combinations of the two were elicited by training the monkeys to alternate the gaze between real visual targets that differed in viewing distance and eccentricity with respect to the monkeys' heads. 2. When they shifted the gaze between targets that were at different viewing distances, the monkeys made vergence eye movements. For targets placed along the midsagittal plane, the monkeys often made binocularly symmetric vergence movements. The peak speed of symmetric divergence movements increased linearly with vergence amplitude by 5.7 deg/s per degree of vergence. The peak speed of symmetric convergence movements increased linearly with vergence amplitude by 7.9 deg/s per degree of vergence. 3. For gaze shifts between targets placed eccentrically with respect to the midsagittal plane and at different viewing distances, the monkeys made saccades in combination with vergence eye movements. When a saccade occurred during a vergence movement, peak vergence eye speed increased abruptly and reached a peak that was proportional to the speed of the saccade. For four monkeys, peak divergence speed ranged from 242 to 315 deg/s and peak convergence speed ranged from 257 to 340 deg/s for 16-deg vergence and 20-deg saccadic eye movements. 4. For gaze shifts between far targets at the same viewing distance but different eccentricities, saccadic eye movements were transiently disjunctive even though there was no vergence requirement. Initially, the eyes diverged and then converged to restore fixation to the correct depth plane. Divergence was followed by convergence regardless of the direction of the saccade. 5. The presence of transient saccade-related disjunctive eye movements suggested that the abrupt increase in peak vergence speed during combined saccadic and vergence eye movements was produced by the linear addition of a vergence eye movement and the saccade-related transients. Consistent with this hypothesis, the rate of change in peak vergence speed during various-sized saccades between far targets (no vergence required) was similar to the rate of change in peak vergence speed during combined saccadic and vergence movements. However, the peak vergence speeds during the combined movements were higher than predicted by the linear addition hypothesis, suggesting the presence of an additional mechanism. 6. The saccade-related increase in peak vergence speed during combined saccades and vergences led to a significant decrease in the amount of time required to complete vergence movements.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Animal
  • Eye Movements
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Macaca nemestrina
  • Saccades
  • Time Factors
  • Vision, Binocular

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Authors

  • J S Maxwell

  • W M King

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