Vergence-mediated changes in the axis of eye rotation during the human vestibulo-ocular reflex can occur independent of eye position

Americo A. Migliaccio, Phillip D. Cremer, Swee T. Aw, G. Michael Halmagyi, Ian S. Curthoys, Lloyd B. Minor, Michael J. Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine whether vergence-mediated changes in the axis of eye rotation in the human vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) would obey Listing's Law (normally associated with saccadic eye movements) independent of the initial eye position. We devised a paradigm for disassociating the saccadic velocity axis from eye position by presenting near and far targets that were centered with respect to one eye. We measured binocular 3-dimensional eye movements using search coils in ten normal subjects and 3-dimensional linear head acceleration using Optotrak in seven normal subjects. The stimuli consisted of passive, unpredictable, pitch head rotations with peak acceleration of ∼2,000°/s2 and amplitude of ∼20°. During the pitch head rotation, each subject fixated straight ahead with one eye, whereas the other eye was adducted 4° during far viewing (94 cm) and 25° during near viewing (15 cm). Our data showed expected compensatory pitch rotations in both eyes, and a vergence-mediated horizontal rotation only in the adducting eye. In addition, during near viewing we observed torsional eye rotations not only in the adducting eye but also in the eye looking straight ahead. In the straight-ahead eye, the change in torsional eye velocity between near and far viewing, which began ∼40 ms after the start of head rotation, was 10±6°/s (mean ± SD). This change in torsional eye velocity resulted in a 2.4±1.5° axis tilt toward Listing's plane in that eye. In the adducting eye, the change in torsional eye velocity between near and far viewing was 16±6°/s (mean ± SD) and resulted in a 4.1±1.4° axis tilt. The torsional eye velocities were conjugate and both eyes partially obeyed Listing's Law. The axis of eye rotation tilted in the direction of the line of sight by approximately one-third of the angle between the line of sight and a line orthogonal to Listing's plane. This tilt was higher than predicted by the one-quarter rule. The translational acceleration component of the pitch head rotation measured 0.5 g and may have contributed to the increased torsional component observed during near viewing. Our data show that vergence-mediated eye movements obey a VOR/Listing's Law compromise strategy independent of the initial eye position.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-248
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume151
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003

Keywords

  • Asymmetrical vergence
  • Conjugate torsional eye velocity
  • Listing's plane
  • Vestibulo Ocular Reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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