PyOKR: A Semi-Automated Method for Quantifying Optokinetic Reflex Tracking Ability

J Vis Exp. 2024 Apr 12:(206):10.3791/66779. doi: 10.3791/66779.


The study of behavioral responses to visual stimuli is a key component of understanding visual system function. One notable response is the optokinetic reflex (OKR), a highly conserved innate behavior necessary for image stabilization on the retina. The OKR provides a robust readout of image tracking ability and has been extensively studied to understand visual system circuitry and function in animals from different genetic backgrounds. The OKR consists of two phases: a slow tracking phase as the eye follows a stimulus to the edge of the visual plane and a compensatory fast phase saccade that resets the position of the eye in the orbit. Previous methods of tracking gain quantification, although reliable, are labor intensive and can be subjective or arbitrarily derived. To obtain more rapid and reproducible quantification of eye tracking ability, we have developed a novel semi-automated analysis program, PyOKR, that allows for quantification of two-dimensional eye tracking motion in response to any directional stimulus, in addition to being adaptable to any type of video-oculography equipment. This method provides automated filtering, selection of slow tracking phases, modeling of vertical and horizontal eye vectors, quantification of eye movement gains relative to stimulus speed, and organization of resultant data into a usable spreadsheet for statistical and graphical comparisons. This quantitative and streamlined analysis pipeline, readily accessible via PyPI import, provides a fast and direct measurement of OKR responses, thereby facilitating the study of visual behavioral responses.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Eye-Tracking Technology*
  • Nystagmus, Optokinetic / physiology