Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 222, Issue 1–2, pp 21–30 | Cite as

Saccadic eye movements in children: a developmental study

  • Maria Pia Bucci
  • Magali Seassau
Research Article


To our knowledge, there are no studies exploring the development of voluntary and reflexive saccades in children using different types of paradigms to investigate horizontal saccades. In the present study, we examined the development of horizontal saccades in children aged 6–15 years. Binocular eye movements were recorded using an infrared video-oculography system (mobileEBT®, e(ye)BRAIN) in seventy-two children (aged 6–15). Several paradigms were used to stimulate reflexive and voluntary horizontal saccades: gap, step and overlap paradigms. Horizontal anti-saccades were also examined. In all paradigms, the latency of saccades decreased with the age of children and it did not depend on the direction of the saccades (left/right); the error rate in the anti-saccade task decreased with age; the gain of horizontal saccades improved with age; the peak velocity of horizontal saccades was stable throughout childhood. We conclude that saccadic performances are influenced by age and cortical circuits responsible for the preparation of reflexive or voluntary saccades are completed at 12 years old. These data could be used as reference values for further studies dealing with pathologic development.


Reflexive saccades Voluntary saccades Anti-saccades Children Development 



Authors thank the directors and the teachers of the Collège Saint André (Saint Maur des Fossés) and of the elementary school Lamazou (Paris) for allowing ocular motor tests, parents and children for their kind participation and Savita Bernal for revising the English version of the manuscript.

Conflict of interest

Authors have no financial and personal relationships with other people or organisations that could inappropriately influence or bias their work in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UMR 676 InsermUniversité Paris DiderotParisFrance
  2. 2.e(ye)BRAINIvry-sur-SeineFrance

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