An area for vergence eye movement in primate frontal cortex

Nature. 2000 Oct 26;407(6807):1003-7. doi: 10.1038/35039506.


To view objects at different distances, humans rely on vergence eye movements to appropriately converge or diverge the eyes and on ocular accommodation to focus the object. Despite the importance of these coordinated eye movements (the 'near response') very little is known about the role of the cerebral cortex in their control. As near-response neurons exist within the nucleus reticularis tegmenti pontis, which receives input from the frontal eye field region of frontal cortex, and this cortical region is known to be involved in saccadic and smooth-pursuit eye movements, we propose that a nearby region might play a role in vergence and ocular accommodation. Here we provide evidence from rhesus monkeys that a region of frontal cortex located immediately anterior to the saccade-related frontal eye field region is involved in vergence and ocular accommodation, and in the sensorimotor transformations required for these eye movements. We conclude that the macaque frontal cortex is involved in the control of all voluntary eye movements, and suggest that the definition of the frontal eye fields should be expanded to include this region.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accommodation, Ocular / physiology
  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Frontal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Neurons / physiology