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Bing Zhang, Roberto Bolzani, Gustaf Öqvist Seimyr, Jan Ygge, Tony Pansell; The Influence of Horizontal Convergence on Slow Oscillatory Eye Movements During Visual Fixation. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(13):8091-8094. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-12588.
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Slow oscillatory eye movements (SOMs) occur simultaneously with tremor, drifts, and microsaccades during visual fixation. In a previous study, the amplitude of SOM was found to be affected by the visual characteristics of the stimuli. This indicates a perceptual influence on the control of the movement. However, the frequency of SOM did not change. The aim of our study was to investigate how SOM is affected by extraocular muscle tension.
In a repeated-measurement experiment, 14 subjects were instructed to maintain fixation for 3 minutes on a bright dot presented at four distances (15, 30, 60, and 120 cm). The level of extraocular muscle tension is assumed to increase with decreased fixation distance due to convergence angle. Eye movements were recorded binocularly using a video eye tracker, and the amplitude and frequency of SOM for each eye were obtained by independently filtering the horizontal and vertical eye position signals with a discrete Fourier transformation.
The results showed no significant differences for the amplitude. However, the horizontal frequency was found to be significantly lower at the closest distance. No significant differences were found for the vertical frequency.
Based on these findings we conclude that extraocular muscle tension does have an effect on the frequency, but not the amplitude, of the oscillations. The apparent double dissociation between perceptual effects on amplitude versus muscle tension effects on frequency is discussed in relation to the origin and control of SOM.
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