The same oculomotor vermal Purkinje cells encode the different kinematics of saccades and of smooth pursuit eye movements.
ABSTRACT: Saccades and smooth pursuit eye movements (SPEM) are two types of goal-directed eye movements whose kinematics differ profoundly, a fact that may have contributed to the notion that the underlying cerebellar substrates are separated. However, it is suggested that some Purkinje cells (PCs) in the oculomotor vermis (OMV) of monkey cerebellum may be involved in both saccades and SPEM, a puzzling finding in view of the different kinematic demands of the two types of eye movements. Such 'dual' OMV PCs might be oddities with little if any functional relevance. On the other hand, they might be representatives of a generic mechanism serving as common ground for saccades and SPEM. In our present study, we found that both saccade- and SPEM-related responses of individual PCs could be predicted well by linear combinations of eye acceleration, velocity and position. The relative weights of the contributions that these three kinematic parameters made depended on the type of eye movement. Whereas in the case of saccades eye position was the most important independent variable, it was velocity in the case of SPEM. This dissociation is in accordance with standard models of saccades and SPEM control which emphasize eye position and velocity respectively as the relevant controlled state variables.
Project description:<h4>Purpose</h4>Fixational saccades shift the foveal image to counteract visual fading related to neural adaptation. Drifts are slow eye movements between two adjacent fixational saccades. We quantified fixational saccades and asked whether their changes could be attributed to pathologic drifts seen in amblyopia, one of the most common causes of blindness in childhood.<h4>Methods</h4>Thirty-six pediatric subjects with varying severity of amblyopia and eleven healthy age-matched controls held their gaze on a visual target. Eye movements were measured with high-resolution video-oculography during fellow eye-viewing and amblyopic eye-viewing conditions. Fixational saccades and drifts were analyzed in the amblyopic and fellow eye and compared with controls.<h4>Results</h4>We found an increase in the amplitude with decreased frequency of fixational saccades in children with amblyopia. These alterations in fixational eye movements correlated with the severity of their amblyopia. There was also an increase in eye position variance during drifts in amblyopes. There was no correlation between the eye position variance or the eye velocity during ocular drifts and the amplitude of subsequent fixational saccade. Our findings suggest that abnormalities in fixational saccades in amblyopia are independent of the ocular drift.<h4>Discussion</h4>This investigation of amblyopia in pediatric age group quantitatively characterizes the fixation instability. Impaired properties of fixational saccades could be the consequence of abnormal processing and reorganization of the visual system in amblyopia. Paucity in the visual feedback during amblyopic eye-viewing condition can attribute to the increased eye position variance and drift velocity.
Project description:Reduced eye velocity and overt or covert compensatory saccades during horizontal head impulse testing are the signs of reduced vestibular function. However, here we report the unusual case of a patient who had enhanced eye velocity during horizontal head impulses followed by a corrective saccade. We term this saccade a "backup saccade" because it acts to compensate for the gaze position error caused by the enhanced velocity (and enhanced VOR gain) and acts to return gaze directly to the fixation target as shown by eye position records. We distinguish backup saccades from overt or covert compensatory saccades or the anticompensatory quick eye movement (ACQEM) of Heuberger et al. (1) ACQEMs are anticompensatory in that they are in the same direction as head velocity and so, act to take gaze off the target and thus require later compensatory (overt) saccades to return gaze to the target. Neither of these responses were found in this patient. The patient here was diagnosed with unilateral definite Meniere's disease (MD) on the right and had enhanced VOR (gain of 1.17) for rightward head impulses followed by backup saccades. For leftwards head impulses eye velocity and VOR gain were in the normal range (VOR gain of 0.89). As further confirmation, testing with 1.84 Hz horizontal sinusoidal head movements in the visual-vestibular (VVOR) paradigm also showed these backup saccades for rightwards head turns but normal slow phase eye velocity responses without backup saccades for leftwards had turns. This evidence shows that backup saccades can be observed in some MD patients who show enhanced eye velocity responses during vHIT and that these backup saccades act to correct for gaze position error caused by the enhanced eye velocity during the head impulse and so have a compensatory effect on gaze stabilization.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Saccadic eye movements align the two eyes precisely to foveate a target. Trial-by-trial variance of eye movement is always observed within an identical experimental condition. This has often been treated as experimental error without addressing its significance. The present study examined statistical linkages between the two eyes' movements, namely interocular yoking, for the variance of eye position and velocity.<h4>Methods</h4>Horizontal saccadic movements were recorded from twelve right-eye-dominant subjects while they decided on saccade direction in Go-Only sessions and on both saccade execution and direction in Go/NoGo sessions. We used infrared corneal reflection to record simultaneously and independently the movement of each eye. Quantitative measures of yoking were provided by mutual information analysis of eye position or velocity, which is sensitive to both linear and non-linear relationships between the eyes' movements. Our mutual information analysis relied on the variance of the eyes movements in each experimental condition. The range of movements for each eye varies for different conditions so yoking was further studied by comparing GO-Only vs. Go/NoGo sessions, leftward vs. rightward saccades.<h4>Results</h4>Mutual information analysis showed that velocity yoking preceded positional yoking. Cognitive load increased trial variances of velocity with no increase in velocity yoking, suggesting that cognitive load may alter neural processes in areas to which oculomotor control is not tightly linked. The comparison between experimental conditions showed that interocular linkage in velocity variance of the right eye lagged that of the left eye during saccades.<h4>Conclusions</h4>We conclude quantitative measure of interocular yoking based on trial-to-trial variance within a condition, as well as variance between conditions, provides a powerful tool for studying the binocular movement mechanism.
Project description:A major challenge in computational neurobiology is to understand how populations of noisy, broadly-tuned neurons produce accurate goal-directed actions such as saccades. Saccades are high-velocity eye movements that have stereotyped, nonlinear kinematics; their duration increases with amplitude, while peak eye-velocity saturates for large saccades. Recent theories suggest that these characteristics reflect a deliberate strategy that optimizes a speed-accuracy tradeoff in the presence of signal-dependent noise in the neural control signals. Here we argue that the midbrain superior colliculus (SC), a key sensorimotor interface that contains a topographically-organized map of saccade vectors, is in an ideal position to implement such an optimization principle. Most models attribute the nonlinear saccade kinematics to saturation in the brainstem pulse generator downstream from the SC. However, there is little data to support this assumption. We now present new neurophysiological evidence for an alternative scheme, which proposes that these properties reside in the spatial-temporal dynamics of SC activity. As predicted by this scheme, we found a remarkably systematic organization in the burst properties of saccade-related neurons along the rostral-to-caudal (i.e., amplitude-coding) dimension of the SC motor map: peak firing-rates systematically decrease for cells encoding larger saccades, while burst durations and skewness increase, suggesting that this spatial gradient underlies the increase in duration and skewness of the eye velocity profiles with amplitude. We also show that all neurons in the recruited population synchronize their burst profiles, indicating that the burst-timing of each cell is determined by the planned saccade vector in which it participates, rather than by its anatomical location. Together with the observation that saccade-related SC cells indeed show signal-dependent noise, this precisely tuned organization of SC burst activity strongly supports the notion of an optimal motor-control principle embedded in the SC motor map as it fully accounts for the straight trajectories and kinematic nonlinearity of saccades.
Project description:Patients with schizophrenia as well as individuals with high levels of schizotypy are known to have deficits in smooth pursuit eye movements (SPEM). Here, we investigated, for the first time, the neural mechanisms underlying SPEM performance in high schizotypy. Thirty-one healthy participants [N?=?19 low schizotypes, N?=?12 high schizotypes (HS)] underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging at 3T with concurrent oculographic recording while performing a SPEM task with sinusoidal stimuli at two velocities (0.2 and 0.4 Hz). Behaviorally, a significant interaction between schizotypy group and velocity was found for frequency of saccades during SPEM, indicating impairments in HS in the slow but not the fast condition. On the neural level, HS demonstrated lower brain activation in different regions of the occipital lobe known to be associated with early sensory and attentional processing and motion perception (V3A, middle occipital gyrus, and fusiform gyrus). This group difference in neural activation was independent of target velocity. Together, these findings replicate the observation of altered pursuit performance in highly schizotypal individuals and, for the first time, identify brain activation patterns accompanying these performance changes. These posterior activation differences are compatible with evidence of motion processing deficits from the schizophrenia literature and, therefore, suggest overlap between schizotypy and schizophrenia both on cognitive-perceptual and neurophysiological levels. However, deficits in frontal motor areas observed during pursuit in schizophrenia were not seen here, suggesting the operation of additional genetic and/or illness-related influences in the clinical disorder.
Project description:In eye movement examination, video-oculographic monocular recording has become more popular than electro-oculographic binocular recording. The aim of this study was to examine the characteristics of monocular movements recorded using video-oculography. In 66 healthy subjects, the horizontal saccades and smooth pursuit eye movements of the right eye within a range of 30º were evaluated using a video-oculographic eye movement recording system. Saccade latency, velocity, accuracy, and smooth pursuit gain were measured and analysed by age and direction. Saccade parameters (latency, velocity, and amplitude) and smooth pursuit gain deteriorated with age in healthy subjects. Saccade velocity and accuracy were significantly larger during adduction than during abduction. The smooth pursuit gain did not differ between adduction and abduction. In conclusion, unlike smooth pursuit eye movements, saccadic eye movements have adduction-abduction asymmetry. In video-oculographic monocular recording of saccades, it is necessary to recognise the possibility of the existence of adduction-abduction asymmetry.
Project description:Dynamic visual acuity (DVA) is the ability to resolve fine spatial detail in dynamic objects during head fixation, or in static objects during head or body rotation. This ability is important for many activities such as ball sports, and a close relation has been shown between DVA and sports expertise. DVA tasks involve eye movements, yet, it is unclear which aspects of eye movements contribute to successful performance. Here we examined the relation between DVA and the kinematics of smooth pursuit and saccadic eye movements in a cohort of 23 varsity baseball players. In a computerized dynamic-object DVA test, observers reported the location of the gap in a small Landolt-C ring moving at various speeds while eye movements were recorded. Smooth pursuit kinematics-eye latency, acceleration, velocity gain, position error-and the direction and amplitude of saccadic eye movements were linked to perceptual performance. Results reveal that distinct eye movement patterns-minimizing eye position error, tracking smoothly, and inhibiting reverse saccades-were related to dynamic visual acuity. The close link between eye movement quality and DVA performance has important implications for the development of perceptual training programs to improve DVA.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Saccades are fast eye movements that conjugately shift the point of fixation between distant features of interest in the visual environment. Several disorders, affecting sites from brainstem to extraocular muscle, may cause horizontal saccades to become disconjugate. Prior techniques for detection of saccadic disconjugacy, especially in internuclear ophthalmoparesis (INO), have compared only one point in abducting vs adducting saccades, such as peak velocity.<h4>Methods</h4>We applied a phase-plane technique that compared each eye's velocity as a function of change in position (normalized displacement) in 22 patients with disease variously affecting the brainstem reticular formation, the abducens nucleus, the medial longitudinal fasciculus, the oculomotor nerve, the abducens nerve, the neuromuscular junction, or the extraocular muscles; 10 age-matched subjects served as controls.<h4>Results</h4>We found three different patterns of disconjugacy throughout the course of horizontal saccades: early abnormal velocity disconjugacy during the first 10% of the displacement in patients with INO, oculomotor or abducens nerve palsy, and advanced extraocular muscle disease; late disconjugacy in patients with disease affecting the neuromuscular junction; and variable middle-course disconjugacy in patients with pontine lesions. When normal subjects made disconjugate saccades between two targets aligned on one eye, the initial part of the movement remained conjugate.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Along with conventional measures of saccades, such as peak velocity, phase planes provide a useful tool to determine the site, extent, and pathogenesis of disconjugacy. We hypothesize that the pale global extraocular muscle fibers, which drive the high-acceleration component of saccades, receive a neural command that ensures initial ocular conjugacy.
Project description:Due to the foveal organization of our visual system we have to constantly move our eyes to gain precise information about our environment. Doing so massively alters the retinal input. This is problematic for the perception of moving objects, because physical motion and retinal motion become decoupled and the brain has to discount the eye movements to recover the speed of moving objects. Two different types of eye movements, pursuit and saccades, are combined for tracking. We investigated how the way we track moving targets can affect the perceived target speed. We found that the execution of corrective saccades during pursuit initiation modifies how fast the target is perceived compared with pure pursuit. When participants executed a forward (catch-up) saccade they perceived the target to be moving faster. When they executed a backward saccade they perceived the target to be moving more slowly. Variations in pursuit velocity without corrective saccades did not affect perceptual judgments. We present a model for these effects, assuming that the eye velocity signal for small corrective saccades gets integrated with the retinal velocity signal during pursuit. In our model, the execution of corrective saccades modulates the integration of these two signals by giving less weight to the retinal information around the time of corrective saccades.
Project description:One of the hallmarks of an eye movement that follows Listing's law is the half-angle rule that says that the angular velocity of the eye tilts by half the angle of eccentricity of the line of sight relative to primary eye position. Since all visually-guided eye movements in the regime of far viewing follow Listing's law (with the head still and upright), the question about its origin is of considerable importance. Here, we provide theoretical and experimental evidence that Listing's law results from a unique motor strategy that allows minimizing ocular torsion while smoothly tracking objects of interest along any path in visual space. The strategy consists in compounding conventional ocular rotations in meridian planes, that is in horizontal, vertical and oblique directions (which are all torsion-free) with small linear displacements of the eye in the frontal plane. Such compound rotation-displacements of the eye can explain the kinematic paradox that the fixation point may rotate in one plane while the eye rotates in other planes. Its unique signature is the half-angle law in the position domain, which means that the rotation plane of the eye tilts by half-the angle of gaze eccentricity. We show that this law does not readily generalize to the velocity domain of visually-guided eye movements because the angular eye velocity is the sum of two terms, one associated with rotations in meridian planes and one associated with displacements of the eye in the frontal plane. While the first term does not depend on eye position the second term does depend on eye position. We show that compounded rotation - displacements perfectly predict the average smooth kinematics of the eye during steady- state pursuit in both the position and velocity domain.