Saccade-vergence dynamics and interaction in children and in adults

Exp Brain Res. 2004 May;156(2):212-23. doi: 10.1007/s00221-003-1773-1.


Peak velocity, duration and accuracy of eye movements (saccade, vergence and combined saccade-vergence eye movements) were investigated in fourteen normal children (4.5 to 12 years of age) and ten normal adults (22 to 44 years of age). Horizontal movements from both eyes were recorded simultaneously by the oculometer, a photoelectric device. Peak velocity of all eye movements, saccades, and vergence (convergence and divergence), attains adult levels by the age of 4.5 years and there is no significant change over the age range studied (4.5 to 44 years). Vergence duration is longer only in young children (below 8 years of age). The reciprocal interaction between saccade and vergence during combined movements known in adults, i.e. acceleration of the vergence by the saccade (increase of velocity and decrease of duration) and deceleration of the saccade by the vergence (decrease of velocity and increase of duration) was found to be similar in children. The accuracy of eye movements is good on average for both saccades and vergence by the age of 4.5 years, and does not change with age; an exception is the variability of saccade amplitude, which is higher in children less than 8 years old. Taken together, the results indicate early maturation of brainstem structures controlling spatio-temporal aspects of saccades, vergence and their interaction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Convergence, Ocular / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation / methods*
  • Saccades / physiology*