Changes in listing's plane after sustained vertical fusion

Heimo Steffen, Mark Walker, David S. Zee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE. To determine whether prolonged fusion of an imposed vertical disparity leads to a change in the orientation of Listing's plane, even when measured during monocular viewing. METHODS. Four normal subjects (age range, 24-37 years) wore Fresnel prisms of increasing power for 72 hours to produce a final left-over-right disparity (range, 7-11 prism diopters [∼3.9-6.2°]) that was still fusible. Eye movements were measured binocularly, using three-axis search coils, as subjects fixed on an array of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) arranged on a flat screen, 124 cm away. A regression was used to fit the data points to a plane (Listing's plane) during monocular and binocular viewing. From each planar fit, the horizontal and vertical components of primary position (the direction of gaze that is perpendicular to Listing's plane) were calculated. Baseline data were collected in the unadapted state, either just before or at least 4 days after wearing the prisms. RESULTS. After the period of viewing through the prisms, there was a change in vertical phoria (prism adaptation) ranging from 1.6° to 3.3°. There was a significant (P < 0.01) shift of the relative orientation of the vertical component of primary position between the two eyes of 6.3 ± 1.7° (right eye value minus left eye, up being positive, each measured during monocular viewing). There was no consistent pattern of change in the horizontal component of primary position. CONCLUSIONS. Prolonged fusion of a vertical disparity is associated with a change in the orientation of Listing's plane that persists under monocular viewing. Possible mechanisms include phoria adaptation, the prolonged fusional effort itself, and the residual disparity that must be overcome by sensory mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)668-672
Number of pages5
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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