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Eye Choice for Acquisition of Targets in Alternating Strabismus

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In strabismus, potentially either eye can inform the brain about the location of a target so that an accurate saccade can be made. Sixteen human subjects with alternating exotropia were tested dichoptically while viewing stimuli on a tangent screen. Each trial began with a fixation cross visible to only one eye. After the subject fixated the cross, a peripheral target visible to only one eye flashed briefly. The subject's task was to look at it. As a rule, the eye to which the target was presented was the eye that acquired the target. However, when stimuli were presented in the far nasal visual field, subjects occasionally performed a "crossover" saccade by placing the other eye on the target. This strategy avoided the need to make a large adducting saccade. In such cases, information about target location was obtained by one eye and used to program a saccade for the other eye, with a corresponding latency increase. In 10/16 subjects, targets were presented on some trials to both eyes. Binocular sensory maps were also compiled to delineate the portions of the visual scene perceived with each eye. These maps were compared with subjects' pattern of eye choice for target acquisition. There was a correspondence between suppression scotoma maps and the eye used to acquire peripheral targets. In other words, targets were fixated by the eye used to perceive them. These studies reveal how patients with alternating strabismus, despite eye misalignment, manage to localize and capture visual targets in their environment.

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