Abstract

The ability of an observer to maintain steady fixation on a test object is limited by involuntary eye tremor. Such tremor is characteristic of balanced muscular systems such as those serving to rotate the eye. Rotations of the eye cause proportional displacements of the retinal image of a stationary test object. Data are given for typical excursions of the retinal image during various exposure intervals from 0.01 to 1 sec in duration. The data show that under good experimental conditions the retinal image is virtually stationary for exposures up to 0.01 sec in duration. Exposures of 0.1 sec entail an average displacement of 25 sec of arc (a visual angle corresponding to the diameter of a single foveal cone). Exposures as long as 1 sec permit an average excursion of about 3 min of arc.

© 1954 Optical Society of America

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  1. R. W. Ditchburn and B. L. Ginsborg, J. Physiol. (London) 119, 1 (1953).
  2. H. F. Brandt, The Psychology of Seeing (Philosophical Library, New York, 1945).
  3. H. Hartridge and L. C. Thomson, Brit. J. Ophthalmol. 32, 581 (1948).
    [Crossref]
  4. M. P. Lord and W. D. Wright, Reps. Progr. in Phys. 13, 1 (1950).
    [Crossref]
  5. G. C. Higgins and K. F. Stultz, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 42, 872 (1952).
  6. C. N. McAllister, Psychol. Rev. Monogr. Suppl 7, No. 1, 17 (1905).
  7. H. B. Barlow, J. Physiol. (London) 116, 290 (1952).
  8. E. Scholl, Deut. Arch. klin. Med. 140, 79 (1922).
  9. Mowrer, Ruch, and Miller, Am. J. Physiol. 114, 423 (1936).
  10. L. Carmichael and W. F. Dearborn, Reading and Visual Fatigue (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1947).
  11. Hoffman, Wellman, and Carmichael, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 40 (1939).
    [Crossref]
  12. F. H. Adler and F. Fliegelman, Arch. Ophthalmol. (Chicago) 12, 475 (1934).
    [Crossref]
  13. F. Ratliff and L. A. Riggs, J. Exptl. Psychol. 40687 (1950).
    [Crossref]
  14. L. A. Riggs and F. Ratliff, Science 114, 17 (1951).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  15. F. Ratliff, J. Exptl. Psychol. 43, 163 (1952).
    [Crossref]
  16. R. W. Ditchburn and B. L. Ginsborg, Nature 170, 36 (1952).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  17. Riggs, Ratliff, Cornsweet, and Cornsweet, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 43, 495 (1953).
    [Crossref] [PubMed]
  18. G. E. Park and R. S. Park, Arch. Ophthalmol. (New York) 23, 1216 (1940).
    [Crossref]
  19. Arnulf, Dupuy, and Flamant, Optica Acta, Special Issue, 13 (May, 1951).

1953 (2)

R. W. Ditchburn and B. L. Ginsborg, J. Physiol. (London) 119, 1 (1953).

Riggs, Ratliff, Cornsweet, and Cornsweet, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 43, 495 (1953).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

1952 (4)

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

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

G. C. Higgins and K. F. Stultz, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 42, 872 (1952).

H. B. Barlow, J. Physiol. (London) 116, 290 (1952).

1951 (2)

Arnulf, Dupuy, and Flamant, Optica Acta, Special Issue, 13 (May, 1951).

L. A. Riggs and F. Ratliff, Science 114, 17 (1951).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

1950 (2)

F. Ratliff and L. A. Riggs, J. Exptl. Psychol. 40687 (1950).
[Crossref]

M. P. Lord and W. D. Wright, Reps. Progr. in Phys. 13, 1 (1950).
[Crossref]

1948 (1)

H. Hartridge and L. C. Thomson, Brit. J. Ophthalmol. 32, 581 (1948).
[Crossref]

1940 (1)

G. E. Park and R. S. Park, Arch. Ophthalmol. (New York) 23, 1216 (1940).
[Crossref]

1939 (1)

Hoffman, Wellman, and Carmichael, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 40 (1939).
[Crossref]

1936 (1)

Mowrer, Ruch, and Miller, Am. J. Physiol. 114, 423 (1936).

1934 (1)

F. H. Adler and F. Fliegelman, Arch. Ophthalmol. (Chicago) 12, 475 (1934).
[Crossref]

1922 (1)

E. Scholl, Deut. Arch. klin. Med. 140, 79 (1922).

1905 (1)

C. N. McAllister, Psychol. Rev. Monogr. Suppl 7, No. 1, 17 (1905).

Adler, F. H.

F. H. Adler and F. Fliegelman, Arch. Ophthalmol. (Chicago) 12, 475 (1934).
[Crossref]

Arnulf,

Arnulf, Dupuy, and Flamant, Optica Acta, Special Issue, 13 (May, 1951).

Barlow, H. B.

H. B. Barlow, J. Physiol. (London) 116, 290 (1952).

Brandt, H. F.

H. F. Brandt, The Psychology of Seeing (Philosophical Library, New York, 1945).

Carmichael,

Hoffman, Wellman, and Carmichael, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 40 (1939).
[Crossref]

Carmichael, L.

L. Carmichael and W. F. Dearborn, Reading and Visual Fatigue (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1947).

Cornsweet,

Dearborn, W. F.

L. Carmichael and W. F. Dearborn, Reading and Visual Fatigue (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1947).

Ditchburn, R. W.

R. W. Ditchburn and B. L. Ginsborg, J. Physiol. (London) 119, 1 (1953).

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

Dupuy,

Arnulf, Dupuy, and Flamant, Optica Acta, Special Issue, 13 (May, 1951).

Flamant,

Arnulf, Dupuy, and Flamant, Optica Acta, Special Issue, 13 (May, 1951).

Fliegelman, F.

F. H. Adler and F. Fliegelman, Arch. Ophthalmol. (Chicago) 12, 475 (1934).
[Crossref]

Ginsborg, B. L.

R. W. Ditchburn and B. L. Ginsborg, J. Physiol. (London) 119, 1 (1953).

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

Hartridge, H.

H. Hartridge and L. C. Thomson, Brit. J. Ophthalmol. 32, 581 (1948).
[Crossref]

Higgins, G. C.

G. C. Higgins and K. F. Stultz, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 42, 872 (1952).

Hoffman,

Hoffman, Wellman, and Carmichael, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 40 (1939).
[Crossref]

Lord, M. P.

M. P. Lord and W. D. Wright, Reps. Progr. in Phys. 13, 1 (1950).
[Crossref]

McAllister, C. N.

C. N. McAllister, Psychol. Rev. Monogr. Suppl 7, No. 1, 17 (1905).

Miller,

Mowrer, Ruch, and Miller, Am. J. Physiol. 114, 423 (1936).

Mowrer,

Mowrer, Ruch, and Miller, Am. J. Physiol. 114, 423 (1936).

Park, G. E.

G. E. Park and R. S. Park, Arch. Ophthalmol. (New York) 23, 1216 (1940).
[Crossref]

Park, R. S.

G. E. Park and R. S. Park, Arch. Ophthalmol. (New York) 23, 1216 (1940).
[Crossref]

Ratliff,

Ratliff, F.

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

L. A. Riggs and F. Ratliff, Science 114, 17 (1951).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

F. Ratliff and L. A. Riggs, J. Exptl. Psychol. 40687 (1950).
[Crossref]

Riggs,

Riggs, L. A.

L. A. Riggs and F. Ratliff, Science 114, 17 (1951).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

F. Ratliff and L. A. Riggs, J. Exptl. Psychol. 40687 (1950).
[Crossref]

Ruch,

Mowrer, Ruch, and Miller, Am. J. Physiol. 114, 423 (1936).

Scholl, E.

E. Scholl, Deut. Arch. klin. Med. 140, 79 (1922).

Stultz, K. F.

G. C. Higgins and K. F. Stultz, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 42, 872 (1952).

Thomson, L. C.

H. Hartridge and L. C. Thomson, Brit. J. Ophthalmol. 32, 581 (1948).
[Crossref]

Wellman,

Hoffman, Wellman, and Carmichael, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 40 (1939).
[Crossref]

Wright, W. D.

M. P. Lord and W. D. Wright, Reps. Progr. in Phys. 13, 1 (1950).
[Crossref]

Am. J. Physiol. (1)

Mowrer, Ruch, and Miller, Am. J. Physiol. 114, 423 (1936).

Arch. Ophthalmol. (Chicago) (1)

F. H. Adler and F. Fliegelman, Arch. Ophthalmol. (Chicago) 12, 475 (1934).
[Crossref]

Arch. Ophthalmol. (New York) (1)

G. E. Park and R. S. Park, Arch. Ophthalmol. (New York) 23, 1216 (1940).
[Crossref]

Brit. J. Ophthalmol. (1)

H. Hartridge and L. C. Thomson, Brit. J. Ophthalmol. 32, 581 (1948).
[Crossref]

Deut. Arch. klin. Med. (1)

E. Scholl, Deut. Arch. klin. Med. 140, 79 (1922).

J. Exptl. Psychol. (3)

F. Ratliff and L. A. Riggs, J. Exptl. Psychol. 40687 (1950).
[Crossref]

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

Hoffman, Wellman, and Carmichael, J. Exptl. Psychol. 24, 40 (1939).
[Crossref]

J. Opt. Soc. Am. (2)

Riggs, Ratliff, Cornsweet, and Cornsweet, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 43, 495 (1953).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

G. C. Higgins and K. F. Stultz, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 42, 872 (1952).

J. Physiol. (London) (2)

H. B. Barlow, J. Physiol. (London) 116, 290 (1952).

R. W. Ditchburn and B. L. Ginsborg, J. Physiol. (London) 119, 1 (1953).

Nature (1)

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

Optica Acta (1)

Arnulf, Dupuy, and Flamant, Optica Acta, Special Issue, 13 (May, 1951).

Psychol. Rev. Monogr. Suppl (1)

C. N. McAllister, Psychol. Rev. Monogr. Suppl 7, No. 1, 17 (1905).

Reps. Progr. in Phys. (1)

M. P. Lord and W. D. Wright, Reps. Progr. in Phys. 13, 1 (1950).
[Crossref]

Science (1)

L. A. Riggs and F. Ratliff, Science 114, 17 (1951).
[Crossref] [PubMed]

Other (2)

L. Carmichael and W. F. Dearborn, Reading and Visual Fatigue (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1947).

H. F. Brandt, The Psychology of Seeing (Philosophical Library, New York, 1945).

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Figures (12)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Photographic records made by direct corneal reflection and by reflection from a plane mirror. L: excursion of the left eye as indicated by corneal reflection. R: simultaneous recording from the right eye by means of a plane mirror attached to a contact lens. In the early portion of these records the eyes were fixating on one point. Near the end of the records the subject looked from one point to another. The points were separated by 40.5 min of arc. The plane mirror method is 8 times as sensitive as the corneal reflection method.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Arrangement for recording eye movements by the use of corneal reflection and a multiplier phototube. P is a fixation point seen by the eye E, through a prism and a half-reflecting mirror. R is a ribbon filament-tungsten source whose rays are reflected by prisms through lens L, to the cornea of the eye. The reflected rays (dashed line) from the cornea pass a straight edge S and enter multiplier phototube T. For purposes of calibration, a rotating sectored disk of plate glass may be inserted at D to produce intermittent deflections of these rays. An amplifier A is used to operate the oscilloscope O, deflections of which are focused on a moving film F by cylindrical strip lens C. Only the horizontal components of the motions are recorded.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Records produced by corneal reflection of light to a multiplier phototube as shown in Fig. 2. The upper record was obtained during attempted steady fixation on a single point. The lower record shows similar eye movements but the trace is interrupted by intermittent deflections caused by a rotating piece of plate glass. Major deflection caused by the glass is equivalent to a 68-sec angular rotation of the eye. Duration of these records is 1.72 sec.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Further records obtained by the multiplier phototube device shown in Fig. 2. A: record obtained from a contact lens rigidly attached to the apparatus. B: record obtained from a contact lens attached to the forehead. C: record obtained from the curved front surface of a contact lens worn in the eye. D: record obtained directly from the cornea of the eye. Time (0.1-sec units) is shown by horizontal dashed lines.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Arrangement for recording eye movements by the use of a mirror mounted on a contact lens. P is a fixation point seen by the eye E through a prism. R is a ribbon filament tungsten source whose rays are collimated by lens L. The collimated rays are directed to the eye by means of a small mirror. A plane first surface mirror M is attached to the eye by means of a contact lens. The light is reflected from this mirror to another small mirror and back through lens L to a reflecting prism. It is then focused by cylindrical strip lens C on a moving film F. Only the horizontal components of the motions are recorded.

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

Records obtained by the scheme for direct photography shown in Fig. 5. The upper record is from a mirror mounted on a contact lens. The combined mass of lens and mirror is 0.82 g. The lower record is similar except for the fact that the mass of the unit has been increased to 2.27 g by the addition of a small piece of brass. Horizontal line designates 0.1 sec of time. Vertical arrow designates 10-min angular rotation of the eye.

Fig. 7
Fig. 7

Record obtained from a corneal (Touhy) type of contact lens with a very small mirror. The total mass of this system is 0.1 g. This record shows steady fixation on one point followed by a voluntary shift of approximately 16 min of arc to another point and a return to the original point. The time line indicates tenths and hundredths of seconds. Note that the overshoot following voluntary excursion is similar to that shown in Fig. 1.

Fig. 8
Fig. 8

Record obtained by means of a minute chip of mirror attached directly to the sclera. Steady fixation followed by a voluntary shift of approximately 11 min of arc to a new fixation point. Horizontal line designates 0.1 sec of time. Vertical arrow designates 10-min angular rotation of the eye. Note that the overshoot following voluntary excursion is similar to those shown in Figs. 1 and 7.

Fig. 9
Fig. 9

A scatter diagram showing the distributions of tremor magnitude and frequency. Measurements made on records produced by the contact lens method are indicated by X. Measurements by corneal reflection are indicated by O.

Fig. 10
Fig. 10

Records produced by reflection of light from a plane mirror on a contact lens to a multiplier phototube. The upper record was obtained by attempted steady fixation on a single point. The lower record shows similar eye movements but the trace is interrupted by intermittent deflections caused by a rotating piece of plate glass. Major deflection caused by the glass is equivalent to a 48-sec angular rotation of the eye.

Fig. 11
Fig. 11

Percentage of eye movement records showing given amounts of motion as a function of the length of the record. Each experimental point is the result of measuring 50 sample eye-movement records records having one particular duration.

Fig. 12
Fig. 12

The median extent of motion of the retinal image as a function of exposure time. The medians are computed from the data of Fig. 11.