Saccades create two problems for the visual system: they cause fast (but resolvable) motion of the retinal image and a change in the relationship between retinal and external spatial co-ordinates. In this review, we examine the first of these problems, of why there is no distributing sense of motion during saccades. Recent evidence from a range of sources suggests that during saccades, the magnocellular pathway is selectively suppressed, while the parvocellular pathway is functionally unimpaired, or even enhanced. The suppression seems to occur early, possibly in the lateral geniculate nucleus, where the pathways are well separated. It is possible that the suppression shares similar mechanisms to those responsible for contrast gain control.
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