Date: 11 Mar 2005

A comparison between the magnetic scleral search coil and infrared reflection methods for saccadic eye movement analysis

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Abstract

Background

A non-invasive eye tracking system, based on pulsed infrared light (IR), was compared with the magnetic scleral search coil method (MSC) for saccadic eye movement recordings.

Methods

Ten normal subjects performed horizontal and vertical saccades recorded with both methods. Eight recordings were complete and analysed for maximum peak velocity (V MAX) and constant (C) of the main sequence curve.

Results

The IR recordings showed significantly higher peak velocity values than the MSC system and generally more inter-individual variability. No significant difference regarding peak velocity was detected between abducting and adducting saccades or between upward and downward saccades with either of the systems. Horizontal saccades had higher peak velocities with both techniques.

Conclusions

Comparison of the main sequence plots of the IR and MSC eye tracking techniques reveals that the IR system yields higher values of maximum peak velocity and the constant, the differences being similar for eye movements in different directions. There are various possible explanations for the lower maximum velocity of the MSC recordings, e.g. slipping of the coil annulus on the surface of the eye and a change of the oculomotor command signal induced by wearing the coil. Also, artefacts associated with the IR recording system may cause overestimations of the saccadic velocity and, furthermore, contribute to the higher variability of the IR recordings.