Abstract

Eye movements during monocular fixation were photographically recorded using the contact lens mirror technique. Records were taken during normal viewing and during viewing with a stabilized retinal image. Flicker was used to produce various durations of disappearance of the fixated figure under both conditions. Characteristics of the drifts and saccadic components of the eye movements were compared under these conditions. It was found that, (1) the rate of drift is the same for all conditions, (2) there are many fewer saccades during stabilized than during normal viewing, and (3) the frequency of saccades is independent of the duration of disappearance for stabilized viewing. An analysis of the characteristics of saccadic movements showed that their probability of occurrence, direction, and magnitude are dependent upon the position of the retinal image on the retina. No comparable relationship was evident for the drifts of the eye. Eye movement records taken in the dark indicate that, in the absence of visual control, the eyes are incapable of maintaining their fixation. Proprioceptive feedback, therefore, does not appear to play an important part in the fine corrective movements that serve to maintain ordinary fixation. It is concluded that the primary stimulus condition for involuntary saccadic eye movements is displacement of the retinal image on the retina, and that drift is the result of an instability of the oculomotor system.

© 1956 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. F. Ratliff and L. A. Riggs, J. Exptl. Psychol. 40, 687 (1950).
    [CrossRef]
  2. F. Ratliff, J. Exptl. Psychol. 43, 163 (1952).
    [CrossRef]
  3. R. W. Ditchburn and B. L. Ginsborg, Nature 170, 36 (1952).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. Riggs, Ratliff, Cornsweet, and Cornsweet, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 43, 495 (1953).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. B. L. Ginsborg, Brit. J. Ophthalmol. 37, 746 (1953).
    [CrossRef]
  6. J. ten Doesschate, Acta Ophthalmol. 127, 65 (1954).
  7. R. W. Ditchburn, Optica Acta 4, 171 (1955).

1955 (1)

R. W. Ditchburn, Optica Acta 4, 171 (1955).

1954 (1)

J. ten Doesschate, Acta Ophthalmol. 127, 65 (1954).

1953 (2)

1952 (2)

F. Ratliff, J. Exptl. Psychol. 43, 163 (1952).
[CrossRef]

R. W. Ditchburn and B. L. Ginsborg, Nature 170, 36 (1952).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1950 (1)

F. Ratliff and L. A. Riggs, J. Exptl. Psychol. 40, 687 (1950).
[CrossRef]

Cornsweet,

Ditchburn, R. W.

R. W. Ditchburn, Optica Acta 4, 171 (1955).

R. W. Ditchburn and B. L. Ginsborg, Nature 170, 36 (1952).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Ginsborg, B. L.

B. L. Ginsborg, Brit. J. Ophthalmol. 37, 746 (1953).
[CrossRef]

R. W. Ditchburn and B. L. Ginsborg, Nature 170, 36 (1952).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Ratliff,

Ratliff, F.

F. Ratliff, J. Exptl. Psychol. 43, 163 (1952).
[CrossRef]

F. Ratliff and L. A. Riggs, J. Exptl. Psychol. 40, 687 (1950).
[CrossRef]

Riggs,

Riggs, L. A.

F. Ratliff and L. A. Riggs, J. Exptl. Psychol. 40, 687 (1950).
[CrossRef]

ten Doesschate, J.

J. ten Doesschate, Acta Ophthalmol. 127, 65 (1954).

Acta Ophthalmol. (1)

J. ten Doesschate, Acta Ophthalmol. 127, 65 (1954).

Brit. J. Ophthalmol. (1)

B. L. Ginsborg, Brit. J. Ophthalmol. 37, 746 (1953).
[CrossRef]

J. Exptl. Psychol. (2)

F. Ratliff and L. A. Riggs, J. Exptl. Psychol. 40, 687 (1950).
[CrossRef]

F. Ratliff, J. Exptl. Psychol. 43, 163 (1952).
[CrossRef]

J. Opt. Soc. Am. (1)

Nature (1)

R. W. Ditchburn and B. L. Ginsborg, Nature 170, 36 (1952).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Optica Acta (1)

R. W. Ditchburn, Optica Acta 4, 171 (1955).

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Figures (9)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Typical photographic record of eye movements during fixation. The very small oscillations are tremor. The large, rapid shifts are flicks, or saccades.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Diagram of an apparatus used to produce a retinal image which remains stationary on the retina in spite of eye movements. Rays from projector P are reflected from mirror M, mounted on the contact lens. The rays form an image of a fixation target at screen S. The subject views the target through the dashed viewing path. When the eye moves through angle alpha, the projected image moves through 2 alpha. Since the length of the viewing path is twice the distance from M to S, the retinal image enters the eye at angle alpha. Therefore the retinal image does not move with respect to the retina. (After Riggs, Ratliff, Cornsweet, and Cornsweet.4)

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Diagram of the present optical apparatus. S1 and S2 two projection systems; S’s ribbon filament sources; F1 and F2 synchronized flicker vanes; F’s filter holders; ST1 and ST2 stops with circular apertures; W the stimulus wire; HSM a half-silvered mirror; CLM mirror mounted on the contact lens; M1 a Mangin mirror; ST3 a circular stop; CS a microscope cover slip; VS a vertical slit opening; CL a horizontal cylindrical lens.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Stimulus pattern and annulus, as seen by the subject. Note that the vertical line is not to scale.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Probability of occurrence of saccadic eye movements as a function of the position of the eyeball.

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

Direction of saccadic eye movements as a function of the position of the eyeball, normal vision.

Fig. 7
Fig. 7

Mean magnitude of saccadic eye movements as a function of the position of the eyeball, normal vision.

Fig. 8
Fig. 8

Over-all effect of saccadic eye movements on the position of the eyeball, normal vision.

Fig. 9
Fig. 9

Effect of eye movements on the position of the eyeball when there is no fixation field. The origin is the mean position of the eye before the fixation point is extinguished.

Tables (1)

Tables Icon

Table I Disappearance time-fraction as a function of rate of flicker of the fixation line.