The locus of fixation and the foveal cone mosaic

J Vis. 2005 Aug 17;5(7):632-9. doi: 10.1167/5.7.3.


High-resolution retinal imaging with adaptive optics was used to record the position of a light stimulus on the cone mosaic, with an error at least five times smaller than the diameter of the smallest foveal cones. We discuss the factors that limit the accuracy with which absolute retinal position can be determined. In five subjects, the standard deviation of fixation positions measured in discrete trials ranged from 2.1 to 6.3 arcmin, with an average of 3.4 arcmin (about 17 microm), in agreement with previous studies (R. W. Ditchburn, 1973; R. M. Steinman, G. M. Haddad, A. A. Skavenski, & D. Wyman, 1973). The center of fixation, based on the mean retinal position for each of three subjects, was displaced from the location of highest foveal cone density by an average of about 10 arcmin (about 50 microm), indicating that cone density alone does not drive the location on the retina selected for fixation. This method can be used in psychophysical studies or medical applications requiring submicron registration of stimuli with respect to the retina or in delivering light to retinal features as small as single cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Eye Movements
  • Fixation, Ocular / physiology*
  • Fovea Centralis / cytology
  • Fovea Centralis / physiology*
  • Head
  • Humans
  • Light
  • Ocular Physiological Phenomena
  • Ophthalmoscopy
  • Optics and Photonics
  • Posture
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / radiation effects