Automated Measurement of Visual Performance


Striatech's OptoDrum automatically determines the visual abilities of mice and rats. Based on the optomotor reflex, the OptoDrum's fully automated and reliable analysis finds visual acuity and contrast sensitivity quickly and objectively.

For a wide range of pre-clinical research applications, the OptoDrum is a convenient, automated, fast, and objective in-vivo tool to screen for visual dysfunction and disease progression.


Measure visual abilities

  • Contrast sensitivity
  • Visual acuity
  • Track retinal degeneration
  • Evaluate new treatment options (stem cells, optogenetics, neuroprotection, ...)


Efficacy and safety testing

  • Efficacy: test novel ophthalmic drugs
  • Safety: screen for side effects of new compounds

Disease Models

Track disease progression

  • Retinal degeneration
  • Glaucoma
  • Axon degeneration
  • Axon regeneration
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Aging


Vision defect screening

  • Testing effects of environmental stress
  • Testing effects of neurotoxic substances


New genetic lines

  • Characterize vision of new lines
  • Screen for visual dysfunctions

The OptoDrum: Briefly explained

Watch Video

Download Brochure


OptoDrum publications

The Optomotor Reflex

Background: Measuring rodent vision with innate reflex-behavior

All animals have reflexes that help to stabilize the image of the moving environment in their eyes. For example, if a person looks out the window of a moving train her eyes automatically follow the landscape. These compensatory eye movements are caused by the so-called optokinetic reflex. Many animals also have the optomotor reflex which triggers compensatory head movements.

These compensatory eye and head movements are only triggered if the moving stimulus can be seen by the animal. Thus, observing these innate reflexes can be used as a quantitative readout for visual performance needs of animals. In mice and rats, observing the optomotor reflex is particulary convenient: it does not require fixation or surgery, because the corresponding behavior can be observed macroscopically.

OptoDrum: Functioning and Software

In the OptoDrum, the animal sits on an elevated platform, surrounded by computer monitors. A camera observes the behavior of the animal from above. We trigger the optomotor reflex with a black-and-white stripe pattern on the screens that rotates around the animal. By making the stripe pattern more difficult, one eventually reaches the threshold of the animal's vision and the reflex is not triggered anymore. This allows to determine the animal's visual acuity (by making the stripes finer) or contrast sensitivity (by reducing the contrast of the stripes). 

This process is fully automated in the OptoDrum. The OptoDrum’s software easily guides you through the measurements. You can keep full control over the testing protocol, or you can let the OptoDrum determine your animal's visual threshold completely automatically.

The following picture gallery illustrates important concepts: 

This will contain the slide number


Overview of OptoDrum function


The projected stripe pattern on the screens has the appearance of a round drum. It is continuously and automatically adjusted so that the animal is in the drum's center, to keep the angular width of the stripes constant.


A mouse inside the OptoDrum

OptoDrum Software Interface

The software gives you an immediate overview of the animal's behavior and the results of the experiment. While everything can be automated, you can have control of all aspects of the experiment if you wish.

Customer voices

I cannot tell you how happy I am to have the OptoDrum. The fact that it is easy to use and it relies on an unbiased method to determine ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decisions for mouse behavior helps a lot in designing and conducting experiments.
Dr. Abdoulaye Sene, Genentech
The results are finally objective. Until now, it was difficult or even impossible to compare data collected by different users.
Prof. Volker Enzmann, University Bern, Switzerland
The OptoDrum has a user friendly and sturdy design. It is incredibly easy to use and delivers results right away. On top of this, Striatech provides great support!
Prof. Marius Ader, TU Dresden
Do you have questions or need support?

We are here to help!