The aim of this page is top give a brief description of the different main types of eye movements and there function.
The spatial and temporal sampling ability of the human eye limits the manner in which we extract visual information from events in the world. Because visual acuity decreases rapidly when we move away from the center of our visual field, we possess a repertoire of eye movements that allow us to point our eyes at target locations of interest.
Saccades are the type of eye movement used to move the fovea rapidly from one point of interest to another, while a fixation is the period of time where the eye is kept aligned with the target for a certain duration, allowing for the image details to be processed. Our perception is guided by alternating these sequences of fixations and saccades (see figure on the left). Due to the fast movement during a saccade, the image on the retina is of poor quality and information intake thus happens mostly during the fixation period.
When we look at a static object with our heads relatively still, we mainly perform saccades and fixational eye movements. However in more dynamic situations where either we are moving, or the object itself is moving, other eye movements are triggered to keep the fovea aligned with the point of interest. Vergence movements are recruited to help us focus on objects placed at different distances, smooth pursuit is used to keep the fovea aligned with moving objects and the vestibular ocular reflex is used to maintain our fovea pointed at a point of interest when our head and body are moving.
Smooth pursuit facts:
Vestibular ocular reflex