Reviews Art

A steady eye

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 26 October 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:923
  1. Richard Hurley, technical editor (
  1. BMJ

    Painters, like surgeons, need a steady hand and a good eye. Precise work involves a complicated interaction in which our eyes guide our movement. This exhibition is a collaboration of research into the physiology of hand-eye coordination in disparate activities, particularly painting and surgery. Understanding this could help to improve the training of surgeons.

    The exhibition comprises 12 panels, with integral optical tests to try. Examples include playing football and pick-up sticks, as well as drawing and surgery.

    Brain imaging and the tracking of eye movement give a detailed description of what artists' and surgeons' eyes are doing while they work. Eye trackers resembling high tech glasses record the direction of gaze as a function of space and time. And plots of eye movement for different activities share similar characteristics, indicating similar types of hand-eye behaviour.

    The plots show differences in coordination between activities too. For example, an artist may …

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