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Janick Edinger, Dinesh K. Pai, Miriam Spering; Coordinated Control of Three-Dimensional Components of Smooth Pursuit to Rotating and Translating Textures. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(1):698-707. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.16-21038.
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The neural control of pursuit eye movements to visual textures that simultaneously translate and rotate has largely been neglected. Here we propose that pursuit of such targets—texture pursuit—is a fully three-dimensional task that utilizes all three degrees of freedom of the eye, including torsion.
Head-fixed healthy human adults (n = 8) tracked a translating and rotating random dot pattern, shown on a computer monitor, with their eyes. Horizontal, vertical, and torsional eye positions were recorded with a head-mounted eye tracker.
The torsional component of pursuit is a function of the rotation of the texture, aligned with its visual properties. We observed distinct behaviors between those trials in which stimulus rotation was in the same direction as that of a rolling ball (“natural”) in comparison to those with the opposite rotation (“unnatural”): Natural rotation enhanced and unnatural rotation reversed torsional velocity during pursuit, as compared to torsion triggered by a nonrotating random dot pattern. Natural rotation also triggered pursuit with a higher horizontal velocity gain and fewer and smaller corrective saccades. Furthermore, we show that horizontal corrective saccades are synchronized with torsional corrective saccades, indicating temporal coupling of horizontal and torsional saccade control.
Pursuit eye movements have a torsional component that depends on the visual stimulus. Horizontal and torsional eye movements are separated in the motor periphery. Our findings suggest that translational and rotational motion signals might be coordinated in descending pursuit pathways.
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