Control oil vertical eye alignment in three-dimensional space

Jan Ygge, David S. Zee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


A target that is, nearer to one eye than the other subtends a larger visual angle in the closer eye. Consequently, when making saccades between vertically separated targets that are closer to one eye, there is a vertical retinal disparity that must be overcome by a change in the relative alignment of the eyes. We recorded eye movements in three normal subjects and showed that in such viewing circumstances subjects made unequal vertical saccades that led to a rapid change (peak velocity up to 30 deg/sec) in vertical eye alignment. On average, 81 % of the required change in alignment occurred within the saccade for downward movements and 47% for upward movements. Such unequal vertical saccades occurred independently of immediate disparity cues; saccades remained unequal when refixing to the remembered locations of the vertically-oriented targets, or even when the natural vertical disparity was nullified by a prism. On the other hand, when subjects wore the nullifying prism in front of the inferior visual field of the left eye for 8-20 hr, they showed a decrease in saccade disconjugacy (to 12-35% of the preadaptation value) to targets closer to the left eye in the inferior but not in the superior visual field. We suggest that the brain develops a three-dimensional map (horizontal, vertical, depth) for vertical saccade yoking, which is under adaptive control, and which is used to preprogram automatically the relative excursions of the eyes during vertical saccades as a function of the current and the desired point of regard.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3169-3181
Number of pages13
JournalVision Research
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 1995


  • Adaptation
  • Disconjugate
  • Human
  • Saccades
  • Strabismus
  • Vertical vergence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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