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Ann Clin Neurophysiol. 1999; 1(2): 173-181.
Physilogy of Eye Movements
Ji Soo Kim
Copyright © 1999 The Korean Society of Clinical Neurophysiology
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Eye movements serve vision by placing the image of an object on the fovea of each retina, and by preventing slippage of images on the retina. The brain employs two modes of ocular motor control, fast eye movements (saccades) and smooth eye movements. Saccades bring the fovea to a target, and smooth eye movements prevent retinal image slip. Smooth eye movements comprise smooth pursuit, the optokinetic reflex, the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR), vergence, and fixation. Saccades achieve rapid refixation of targets that fall on the extrafoveal retina by moving the eyes at peak velocities that can exceed 700?s. Various brain lesions can affect saccadic latency, velocity, or accuracy. Smooth pursuit maintains fixation of a slowly moving target. The pursuit system responds to slippage of an image near the fovea in order to accelerate the eyes to a velocity that matches that of the target. When smooth eye movements velocity fails to match target velocity, catch-up saccades are used to compensate for limited smooth pursuit velocities. The VOR subserves vision by generating conjugate eye movements that are equal and opposite to head movements. If the VOR gain (the ratio of eye velocity to head velocity) is too high or too low, the target image is off the fovea, and head motion causes oscillopsia, an illusory to-and-fro movement of the environment.
Key words: Physiology, Eye movement, Saccades, Smooth pursuit, Vestibulbo-ocular reflex
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