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Saccadic Eye Movements

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Saccades are rapid, abrupt, conjugate eye movements that redirect the fovea to new areas of interest (AOI) in the visual field.

Current Knowledge

The execution of a single saccade takes 30 ms, but it can vary between 20 and 100 ms, depending on the angular distance traveled by the eye. During this interval, the eyes can move at a speed of 900° per second. Head-fixed saccades have amplitudes ranging between 1.2 and 90°; head movements tend to accompany saccades with amplitudes >20°. Saccades are ballistic movements whose trajectory cannot be changed during execution.

Saccades facilitate collection of high-resolution information from different parts of a visual scene and information integration over a sequence of fixations. Between two consecutive saccades, the eyes fixate an AOI, which is processed at a higher resolution. Vision is attenuated during the execution of a saccade (saccadic suppression) to prevent blurred vision.

Extraocular muscles control saccades. Premotor...


  • Superior Colliculus
  • Extraocular Muscle
  • Saccade Latency
  • Interpositus Nucleus
  • Pontine Reticular Formation

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References and Readings

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Correspondence to Natalie C. Ebner .

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Ebner, N.C., Gulliford, D., Yumusak, S. (2016). Saccadic Eye Movements. In: Kreutzer, J., DeLuca, J., Caplan, B. (eds) Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology. Springer, Cham.

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