Eye preference within the context of binocular functions

  • Walter H. EhrensteinEmail author
  • Birgit E. Arnold-Schulz-Gahmen
  • Wolfgang Jaschinski
Laboratory Investigation



Eye preference refers to an asymmetric use of the two eyes, but it does not imply a unitary asymmetry between the eyes. Many different methods are used to assess eye preference, including eyedness questionnaires and sighting tasks that require binocular and monocular alignment of a target through a hole in the middle of a card or funnel. The results of these coarse accounts of eye preference are useful as a first screening, but do not allow for graded quantification of the manifested asymmetry in binocular vision. Moreover, they often concern only a rather selective range of binocular functions. The aim of the present study was to further differentiate eye preference within the context of other binocular functions as measured in standard optometric tests, and to validate their relation to questionnaire data of eyedness.


Conventional accounts of eye preference (German adaptation of Coren’s questionnaire and a sighting task) were compared with various optometric tests of binocular function within a sample of 103 subjects. Examination included visual acuity and accommodation in each eye, stereoscopic prevalence, suppression due to binocular rivalry, fixation disparity (Mallett test).


Sighting dominance was leftward in 32% and rightward in 68% of the cases and was highly correlated (Kendall’s τb=0.70) with eyedness. Further significant associations were restricted to stereoscopic prevalence which correlated with sighting dominance (τb=0.55), eyedness (τb=0.50), and rivalry dominance (τb=0.28).


Eye preference seems to be essentially reflected by eyedness, sighting dominance, and stereoscopic prevalence, but largely unrelated to fixation disparity, accommodation, and visual acuity.


Eye preference Binocular functions Sighting dominance Stereoscopic prevalence Fixation disparity Rivalry suppression 



Carola Reiffen and Anke Siefer assisted in data collection and analysis, Ute Lobisch in preparing the figures; Prof. Guntram Kommerell and Dr. Michael Wagner commented on an earlier draft. An anonymous reviewer made very constructive and most detailed suggestions for further improvement of the manuscript. We thank them all.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter H. Ehrenstein
    • 1
    Email author
  • Birgit E. Arnold-Schulz-Gahmen
    • 1
  • Wolfgang Jaschinski
    • 1
  1. 1.Leibniz Research Center for Working Environment and Human FactorsUniversity of DortmundDortmundGermany

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