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This led to the realization that visual or retinal error (the difference between the post-saccadic point of regard and the target position) played a role in the homeostatic regulation of saccade amplitude.
Since then, much scientific research has been devoted to various experiments employing saccade adaptation.
Controlled cortically by the frontal eye fields (FEF), or subcortically by the superior colliculus, saccades serve as a mechanism for fixation, rapid eye movement, and the fast phase of optokinetic nystagmus.
The word appears to have been coined in the 1880s by French ophthalmologist Émile Javal, who used a mirror on one side of a page to observe eye movement in silent reading, and found that it involves a succession of discontinuous individual movements.
Under certain laboratory circumstances, the latency of, or reaction time to, saccade production can be cut nearly in half (express saccades).
Saccades to an unexpected stimulus normally take about 200 milliseconds (ms) to initiate, and then last from about 20–200 ms, depending on their amplitude (20–30 ms is typical in language reading).
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By moving the eye so that small parts of a scene can be sensed with greater resolution, body resources can be used more efficiently.
Saccades are one of the fastest movements produced by the human body (blinks may reach even higher peak velocities).