Saccadic eye movement strategies in patients with homonymous hemianopia

Otmar Meienberg, Wolfgang H. Zangemeister, Michael Rosenberg, William F. Hoyt, Lawrence Stark
Annals of Neurology. Volume 9, Issue 6 :537-44
First published: June 1981


Infrared oculographic recordings from three patients with hemianopia due to an occipital lesion showed that these patients employed a consistent set of (presumably unconscious) compensatory strategies to find and fixate objects. For targets in the blind hemifield, patients at first used a staircase strategy consisting of a series of stepwise saccadic search movements. This is safe but slow. When retested later, one patient had adopted a more efficient strategy employing one large saccade calculated to overshoot the target. Other strategies for finding targets in the blind hemifield were employed in response to specific situations presented by our experiments: a predictive strategy using past experience to anticipate where the target would be found, and special strategies for recovering a lost target and for awaiting the reappearance of the target. To fixate targets in the seeing hemifield, our subjects undershot the target to prevent losing it in the blind hemifield, then held it off-fovea on the seeing side of the macula.