Sensorimotor coupling in healthy humans is demonstrated by the higher accuracy of visually tracking intrinsically—rather than extrinsically—generated hand movements in the fronto-parallel plane. It is unknown whether this coupling also facilitates vergence eye movements for tracking objects in depth, or can overcome symmetric or asymmetric binocular visual impairments. Human observers were therefore asked to track with their gaze a target moving horizontally or in depth. The movement of the target was either directly controlled by the observer’s hand or followed hand movements executed by the observer in a previous trial. Visual impairments were simulated by blurring stimuli independently in each eye. Accuracy was higher for self-generated movements in all conditions, demonstrating that motor signals are employed by the oculomotor system to improve the accuracy of vergence as well as horizontal eye movements. Asymmetric monocular blur affected horizontal tracking less than symmetric binocular blur, but impaired tracking in depth as much as binocular blur. There was a critical blur level up to which pursuit and vergence eye movements maintained tracking accuracy independent of blur level. Hand–eye coordination may therefore help compensate for functional deficits associated with eye disease and may be employed to augment visual impairment rehabilitation.
Experimental Brain Research – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 3, 2018
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