Martin J. Steinbach

PhD (Mass. Inst. Tech.)
Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology and Biology, York University
Professor of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
Director, Vision Science Research Program, the Toronto Western Hospital Research Institute


Research Areas: Animal Biology/Physiology

Research Focus:

I study Visual Processing and Oculomotor Control in Visually-Disabled Humans.

The basic mechanisms underlying our visual perception and eye movements can be successfully studied in those people in whom these processes are abnormal. Misaligned eyes (also known as strabismus, or squint) can be treated surgically or with pharmacological muscle-weakening agents (botulinum toxin is one in current use). Studying the oculomotor control mechanisms of people so treated has led to insights about the anatomy of sensory structures in eye muscles and the role they play in telling the brain which way the eye muscles are pointing. The unique proprioceptors, called palisade endings, are only found at the musculotendinous junction of eye muscles.

A second major area of our research concerns the visual adaptations children make to losing one eye at an early age. There are critical periods in the development of a variety of visual functions (acuity, depth, and motion perception, etc.). The way children adjust these functions to the loss of an eye during or before these critical times tells us about the organization and plasticity of the underlying mechanisms.

Selected Publications:

Tajik-Parvinchi, D. J., Lillakas, L., Irving, E. & Steinbach, M. J. (2003) Childrens pursuit eye movements: A developmental study. Vision Research 43, 77-84.

Steinbach, M. J. (2003) Tendon end organs play an important role in supplying eye position information. In L. Harris and M. Jenkin (Eds.), Levels of Perception: A Festschrift for Ian Howard. Springer Verlag, Pp 271-276.

Steinbach, M. J. & Gonzalez, E. G. (2003) Visual development with one eye. In L. Harris and M. Jenkin (Eds.), On Seeing Spatial Form. Oxford University Press (in press)