Saccade is the term to describe rapid eye movements. I just want to be sure that saccading could be used as a verb, or if not, which term would you recommend using?

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    Saccade is a noun. It's mostly something you count, so it's normally reported as being made or occurring. Since saccades are very frequent and unconscious, they're not noticeable. A twitch, on the other hand, is noticeable, and therefore rare, thus not the same thing. – John Lawler Oct 2 '13 at 18:09
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    Do you really need a verb? What is the sentence you want to write? – terdon Oct 2 '13 at 18:12
  • ... though of course any, absolutely any English word can be used as a verb. – RegDwigнt Oct 5 '13 at 10:58

I would recommend twitch. Saccade is a noun with saccadic being the corresponding adjective. There is no prevalent verb form.

Example sentence from dicitonary:

He gets a twitch in his left eye when he's nervous.

Another term (admittedly rare even for medical professionals) is vellicate , basically meaning to twitch.

  • But we are talking about eye movements, isn't twitch more generic? – Leon palafox Oct 4 '13 at 16:28
  • I agree with @Leon: If the question is about eye movements, then twitch is not correct, because it is too general. In addition, twitch typically applies to muscle movements, not eye movements. – lmjohns3 Oct 5 '13 at 2:13
  • Oops - I might have to consult some references again!!! I was not aware that eyes could move independent of muscles...and guess what - both your assertions are wrong. – user49727 Oct 5 '13 at 9:12

Wiktionary lists a verb form for saccade:

saccade (third-person singular simple present saccades, present participle saccading, simple past and past participle saccaded)

(of the eye) To make a rapid jerking movement to focus elsewhere.

However, in the academic literature on eye movements, saccade is almost always used as a noun. (For whatever reason, I have not encountered saccading and find it a little odd.) To use saccade as a verb in this literature, one often uses a verb phrase construction like make a saccade:

Subjects were instructed to fixate a central target and then make a saccade to one of three targets after hearing an acoustic stimulus. After making the saccade, another stimulus would sound indicating success on the trial.

  • Quite apart from the fact that twitches (including saccades) can be both voluntary and involuntary, there are too many factual errors in this post to merit individual listing and extreme caution is advised. – user49727 Oct 5 '13 at 9:34
  • @user49727 I appreciate the feedback and have removed what I hope are the objectionable parts of my post (trying to differentiate twitch and saccade). Hopefully the eye movement literature isn't so different from the medical literature!? – lmjohns3 Oct 5 '13 at 16:59

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