Michael B McCamy, Jorge Otero-Millan, R John Leigh, Susan A King, Roslyn M Schneider, Stephen L Macknik & Susana Martinez-Conde
Human eyes move continuously, even during visual fixation. These fixational eye movements (FEMs) include microsaccades, intersaccadic drift and oculomotor tremor. Research in human FEMs has grown considerably in the last decade, facilitated by the manufacture of noninvasive, high-resolution/speed video-oculography eye trackers. Due to the small magnitude of FEMs, obtaining reliable data can be challenging, however, and depends critically on the sensitivity and precision of the eye tracking system. Yet, no study has conducted an in-depth comparison of human FEM recordings obtained with the search coil (considered the gold standard for measuring microsaccades and drift) and with contemporary, state-of-the art video trackers. Here we measured human microsaccades and drift simultaneously with the search coil and a popular state-of-the-art video tracker. We found that 95% of microsaccades detected with the search coil were also detected with the video tracker, and 95% of microsaccades detected with video tracking were also detected with the search coil, indicating substantial agreement between the two systems. Peak/mean velocities and main sequence slopes of microsaccades detected with video tracking were significantly higher than those of the same microsaccades detected with the search coil, however. Ocular drift was significantly correlated between the two systems, but drift speeds were higher with video tracking than with the search coil. Overall, our combined results suggest that contemporary video tracking now approaches the search coil for measuring FEMs.
McCamy, Otero-Millan, Leigh, King, Schneider, Macknik & Martinez-Conde (2015) Simultaneous recordings of human microsaccades and drifts with a contemporary video eye tracker and the search coil technique.. PLoS One. 2015 Jun 2;10(6):e0128428.