Long-term eye movement recordings with a scleral search coil-eyelid protection device allows new applications

Andreas Sprenger*, Birte Neppert, Sabine Köster, Steffen Gais, Detlef Kömpf, Christoph Helmchen, Hubert Kimmig

*Corresponding author for this work
8 Citations (Scopus)


The search coil technique is regarded as the gold standard in eye movement recordings. The manufacturers of scleral search coils (SSC) do not recommend using them longer than 30 min. The temporal limitations result from potential cornea damage and from irritations of the lid margins and palpebral conjunctiva which subjects perceive as unpleasant. Here we introduce a new coil-eyelid protection device (CEPD) which allows recording intervals up to 2 h with considerably reduced discomfort. Ophthalmic examinations and saccade recordings were used for comparison with the conventional SSC recording technique. In three experiments subjects were examined using SSCs with a commercially available cornea bandage lens on top of the search coil up to 120 min recording time. Ophthalmic testing revealed no apparent harmful effects on eyes or lid surface. Saccade parameters (main sequence) remained unchanged comparing SSC and CEPD recordings. Subjects rated less discomfort by using the CEPD. For the first time we show that SSC recordings can be extended over about 120 min without hazard to the eye, when using an eyelid protection lens. This advanced method allows new applications like eye movement recordings during sleep (rapid eye movements) or perceptional or motor learning tasks, e.g. saccade adaptation paradigms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)305-309
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 30.05.2008

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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