We studied the effect of unilateral striate cortical ablations on smooth pursuit and saccadic eye movements in the monkey. The monkeys made quite accurate saccades to stationary stimuli in the field contralateral to the lesion, and they readily pursued foveal targets moving in all directions. However, when visual stimuli were stepped into the field contralateral to the lesion and then began to move, thus insuring that the moving stimulus was confined to the impaired visual hemifield, several oculomotor abnormalities emerged. Saccades to moving stimuli presented in the impaired field consistently undershot targets that moved away from the central fixation point after the step, and overshot targets that moved back towards the central fixation point. There was little or no smooth pursuit eye velocity generated in any direction to moving stimuli in the impaired field, and the monkeys could not generate smooth pursuit to stimuli maintained a few degrees from the fovea in the impaired field, although they were able to pursue such stimuli held in the normal field. Ablation of striate cortex also affected the latencies of saccades. When step-ramp stimuli were presented in the normal field, the monkeys delayed the initiation of saccades to targets moving towards the central fixation point, and hastened the initiation of saccades to targets moving away from the central fixation point. By contrast, changes in the direction of target movement did not affect the latencies of saccades into the impaired field. The deficits seemed permanent, lasting as long as the monkeys were tested--over 2 years in one case--but they were not total. Each monkey could use stimuli moving into the affected field to develop some eye velocity, although this residual ability had a much longer latency and lower gain than that provided by the intact visual system. These results show that striate cortex is intimately involved in the estimation of stimulus velocity critical to the genesis of smooth pursuit and saccadic eye movements.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience|
|State||Published - Oct 1987|
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