We studied the influence of static head position relative to the rotation axis on the three-dimensional (3-D) vestibuloocular reflex (VOR). By means of a 3-D rotating chair and a 3-D magnetic search-coil system, eye movements were recorded in 6 normal human subjects during sinusoidal rotation about an earth-vertical axis (yaw) with the head positioned at different pitch angles and about an earth-horizontal axis (pitch) with the head positioned at different yaw angles. We confirmed that torsional VOR gain is about 2/3 of horizontal and vertical VOR gain leading to non-collinear axes of eye and head rotation whenever torsional head movement components were present with eye movement axes tilting away from the torsional direction. Despite this non-collinearity of stimulus and eye movement rotation axes there was close to perfect adjustment of the different VOR components depending on the angle between gaze direction and stimulation axis, indicating a vectorial summation of gains obtained for rotations in the major body axes (roll. pitch and yaw). The horizontal and vertical eye movement components followed a cosine function of the angle between the plane of rotation and gaze direction. The torsional component followed a sine function.
- Gaze stabilisation
- Head movements
- Semicircular canals
- Three-dimensional vestibuloocular reflex
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