The effect of central and peripheral field stimulation on the rise time and gain of human optokinetic nystagmus.
ABSTRACT We wished to examine the spatial (gain) and temporal (rise time) properties of human optokinetic nystagmus (OKN) as a function of stimulus velocity and field location. Stimuli were either M-scaled random dots or vertical stripes that moved at velocities between 20-80 deg s(-1). Three field conditions were examined: full field; a 20 deg central field; and a 12.5 deg central-field mask. OKN gain was found to be significantly affected by stimulus velocity and stimulus location, with the higher stimulus velocities and the 12.5 deg central-field mask giving lower gains. Steady-state gains for all three field conditions were not found to be affected by prior adaptation to stationary or moving stimuli. The 63% rise time was found to be significantly affected by the stimulus velocity, whereas this was not the case for the 90% rise time. Neither rise time was found to be significantly affected by the field location. These results indicate that, although the effectiveness (gain) of peripheral retina is lower than that of the central retina during optokinetic stimulation, the peripheral retina has access to common mechanisms responsible for the fast component of OKN.