Abstract An electrical analogue of the human eyeball-muscle system is used to investigate the muscular performance involved in a fast (saccadic) eye rotation. The force pattern exerted by the contractile components in the extraocular muscles is simulated by a voltage waveform. The principal characteristics of this waveform are specified in terms of a voltage ratio, and a time delay. These two parameters are separately varied in a controlled manner, and the resulting families of waveforms are recorded from the electrical analogue. Using the concept of a ‘settling time’, a comparison is made between the various waveforms which simulate angular displacement-versus-time records. The shortest settling time is found to correspond to the force pattern which has been inferred for an actual saccadic eye movement. It is therefore concluded that the muscular performance involved in the execution of a saccadic movement is optimal for minimizing the time taken during the movement. The energy expenditure of the muscles is found to be not optimal.