Optokinetic nystagmus and afternystagmus in human beings: relationship to nonlinear processing of information about retinal slip

W. A. Fletcher, T. C. Hain, D. S. Zee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

In four normal human subjects we measured eye movements during full-field optokinetic stimulation (10-220 deg/s) and determined the relationship among retinal-slip velocity (drum velocity minus slow-phase eye velocity), the slow-phase velocity of optokinetic nystagmus (OKN) and the initial value of the slow-phase velocity of optokinetic afternystagmus (OKAN) measured in darkness. OKN and OKAN were maximum (63-84 and 11-19 deg/s, respectively) when retinal slip ranged from 30-100 deg/s. For higher values of retinal slip, OKN and OKAN fell (in 3 subjects) or reached a plateau (in the fourth). The amplitude of OKAN in human beings was much less than that reported in monkeys. The shape, however, of the curve relating retinal slip to the amplitude of OKAN was similar to that of monkeys. Furthermore, in both cases the curve resembles that obtained by plotting the results of experimental recordings of neural discharge in the nucleus of the optic tract as a function of retinal slip. These results imply that the processing of visual information for generation of OKAN is similar in monkeys and human beings but that the gain of the system is much less in human beings. We also found that fixation of a small target during optokinetic stimulation nearly completely prevented the development of OKAN while fixation of a small target for short periods after optokinetic stimulation did not alter the pattern of decay of OKAN. Thus, fixation may actively prevent the coupling of visual information into the velocity-storage mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-52
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume81
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1990

Keywords

  • Accessory optic system
  • Human
  • Optokinetic nystagmus
  • Retinal slip
  • Velocity storage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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