, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 185-196

Human ocular counterroll: assessment of static and dynamic properties from electromagnetic scleral coil recordings

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Static and dynamic components of ocular counterroll as well as cyclorotatory optokinetic nystagmus were measured with a scleral search coil technique. Static counterroll compensated for about 10% of head roll when the head was tilted to steady positions up to 20 deg from the upright position. The dynamic component of counterroll, which occurs only while the head is moving, is much larger. It consists of smooth compensatory cyclorotation opposite to the head rotation, interrupted frequently by saccades moving in the same direction as the head. During voluntary sinusoidal head roll, cyclorotation compensated from 40% to more than 70% of the head motion. In the range 0.16 to 1.33 Hz, gain increased with frequency and with the amount of visual information. The lowest values were found in darkness. The gain increased in the presence of a visual fixation point and a further rise was induced by a structured visual pattern. Resetting saccades were made more frequently in the dark than in the light. These saccades were somewhat slower than typical horizontal saccades. Cyclorotatory optokinetic nystagmus could be induced by a patterned disk rotating around the visual axis. It was highly variable even within a same subject and had in general a very low gain (mean value about 0.03 for stimulus velocities up to 30 deg/s). It is concluded that cyclorotational slip velocity on the retina is considerably reduced by counterroll during roll of the head, although the residual cyclorotation after the head has reached a steady position is very small.