The horizontal dark oculomotor rest position

Eun H. Kim, Tara L. Alvarez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: This study sought to investigate whether eye dominance and age are related to the stimulus-free oculomotor resting state described via the dark disconjugate position (near or far), the dark conjugate position (left to right), and the near dissociated phoria. Methods: Nineteen non-presbyopes and 25 presbyopes with normal binocular vision participated in two identical sessions. The left-eye and the right-eye positions were recorded using a video-based infrared eye tracker while the subjects were in total darkness. Dark disconjugate responses and dark conjugate responses were calculated by computing the difference and the average of the left-eye and the right-eye response, respectively. The right-eye decaying to the phoria level was recorded for 15 s. Results: A one-way ANOVA assessed statistical differences in dark conjugate and dark disconjugate positions, comparing 1) the right-eye and the left-eye sensory and/or motor dominant groups and 2) the non-presbyope and presbyope groups. The test-retests of the dark disconjugate position, the dark conjugate position and the near dissociated heterophoria were high between sessions (r∈>∈0.85; p∈<∈0.00001). For non-presbyopes the right-eye (left-eye) motor and sensory dominant subjects showed a rightward (leftward) dark conjugate position (p∈<∈0.01). The dark disconjugate position was receded in presbyopes compared to non-presbyopes (p∈<∈0.0001). Conclusion: The data support that the left-eye, or the right-eye, motor and sensory dominance predicts the direction of the dark conjugate position. Future studies could investigate the underlying neural substrates that may, in part, contribute to the resting state of the oculomotor system in a stimulus-free environment. Knowledge of the brain-behavior governing visual-field preference has implications for understanding the natural aging process of the visual system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2119-2130
Number of pages12
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


  • Dark adaptation
  • Dark conjugate position
  • Dark disconjugate position
  • Motor eye dominance
  • Oculomotor rest position
  • Sensory eye dominance


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