The vestibulo-ocular reflex (YOR) generates eye rotations that compensate for head movements. Head movements include rotations and translations (linear displacements). Linear acceleration during translational movement, as well as the gravitational acceleration, signalling head orientation is sensed by the otolith organs. For the image of a distant object to remain upon the fovea of the retina during head rotation, an equal but opposite eye rotation must be generated. This ocular reflex, which originates in the semicircular canals, probably evolved early in vertebrate evolution, since it serves the important function of allowing animals to see and move at the same time. It was so sllccessful that it has changed vcry little since its origin, and the same basic design is fOllnd in widely divergent species of birds, mammals and fish.

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H. Collewijn (Han)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Tabak, S. (1997, January 27). The human vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) evaluated with a reactive torque helmet. Retrieved from