Anatomical organization of the eye fields in the human and non-human primate frontal cortex

Prog Neurobiol. 2009 Oct;89(2):220-30. doi: 10.1016/j.pneurobio.2009.07.010. Epub 2009 Aug 7.


There are several eye fields in the primate frontal cortex. The number and location of these oculomotor control zones remain controversial, especially in the human brain. In the monkey, the frontal eye field (FEF) is located in the rostral bank of the arcuate sulcus at approximately the level of the posterior end of the sulcus principalis, the supplementary eye field (SEF) is located on the dorsomedial frontal cortex, and the cingulate eye field (CEF) in the dorsal bank of the cingulate sulcus. In the human frontal cortex, the location of the FEF varies depending on the method used, electrical stimulation or functional neuroimaging, to establish it. Some investigators have argued that the SEF is located on the medial wall of the frontal lobe but its presumed location remains controversial. The location of the CEF in the human brain is not known. The present article reviews electrophysiological and functional neuroimaging evidence regarding the location of these frontal oculomotor areas in the macaque monkey and human brains and, in light of new findings in the human brain, attempts to reconcile the differences observed in the location of these eye fields using the different techniques. Together, these data suggest the existence of at least four eye fields in the frontal cortex, i.e. the FEF, the SEF, the CEF, and a premotor eye field, and suggest that their anatomical relationships are preserved from monkey to human brain.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Eye*
  • Frontal Lobe / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Primates
  • Visual Fields / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / anatomy & histology