Magnetic eye tracking in mice

Elife. 2017 Sep 5;6:e29222. doi: 10.7554/eLife.29222.


Eye movements provide insights about a wide range of brain functions, from sensorimotor integration to cognition; hence, the measurement of eye movements is an important tool in neuroscience research. We describe a method, based on magnetic sensing, for measuring eye movements in head-fixed and freely moving mice. A small magnet was surgically implanted on the eye, and changes in the magnet angle as the eye rotated were detected by a magnetic field sensor. Systematic testing demonstrated high resolution measurements of eye position of <0.1°. Magnetic eye tracking offers several advantages over the well-established eye coil and video-oculography methods. Most notably, it provides the first method for reliable, high-resolution measurement of eye movements in freely moving mice, revealing increased eye movements and altered binocular coordination compared to head-fixed mice. Overall, magnetic eye tracking provides a lightweight, inexpensive, easily implemented, and high-resolution method suitable for a wide range of applications.

Keywords: binocular vision; eye movements; mouse; neuroscience; oculomotor mechanics; spatial vision; vestibulo-ocular reflex.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Magnetics / methods*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular / physiology*
  • Video Recording*