Journal of Neurophysiology

Deficits in eye movements following frontal eye-field and superior colliculus ablations

P. H. Schiller, S. D. True, J. L. Conway

Abstract

1. This study investigated the effects of frontal eye-field and superior colliculus ablations on fixation patterns and saccadic eye movements. Monkeys were trained to pick apple pieces out of a multiple-slotted apple board while their heads were fixed. Eye movement records were obtained using predominantly the implanted search-coil method. 2. Both unilateral and bilateral frontal eye-field lesions produced only temporary deficits in eye movements. Following surgery monkeys tended to neglect the contralateral peripheral visual field and made fewer saccades to peripheral targets. Recovery was virtually completed in 2-4 wk. 3. Superior colliculus ablation reduced fixation accuracy, saccade frequency, and saccade velocity. These deficits showed little recovery with time. 4. Paired frontal eye-field and superior colliculus lesions produced dramatic deficits in visually triggered eye movements. Animals could no longer fixate their eyes on visual targets with any degree of accuracy. The range of eye movements was greatly reduced, as was the frequency and velocity of saccades. These deficits showed little recovery with time. 5. These results suggest that visually triggered saccadic eye movements are controlled by two parallel channels, one involving the superior colliculus and the other the frontal eye field.