How is depth perception affected by involuntary eye movements?

Research details

  • Type of funding: Fight for Sight Small Grant Award
  • Grant Holder: Dr Phil Duke
  • Institute: University of Leicester
  • Region: East Midlands
  • Start date: February 2017
  • End Date: August 2018
  • Priority: Quality of Life
  • Eye Category: Refractive error & ocular motility


Infantile nystagmus is a condition in which the eyes move from side-to-side involuntarily. It starts in the first few months of life and affects around 2.4 people in every 1000. Vision and quality of life are reduced.

Standard tests show that infantile nystagmus affects the way that the two eyes work together and this ability is usually missing completely in people with albinism (which often comes together with nystagmus).

The difference between what each eye sees (binocular disparity) is one of many visual cues we use to judge the 3D shape, location and movement of objects in the world. This ability is fundamental to everyday actions, such as keeping our posture and balance, walking, going down stairs, catching balls and not crashing into things.

In this project the team aims to find out what effect infantile nystagmus has on depth perception and the ability to do everyday activities. They have developed a new test that can reveal how much we rely on some visual cues compared to others, for example binocular disparity vs the fact that objects look bigger as they come towards you.

The results will give us a better understanding of infantile nystagmus and may leads to ideas on how to improve binocular vision.