Visual stabilization of the retina during rotational head movements requires that in far vision the eyes rotate about the same axis as the head but in opposite direction with a gain close to unity (optimal strategy). To achieve this goal the vestibulo-oculomotor system must be able to independently control all three rotational degrees of freedom of the eye. Studies of the human rotational vestibulo-ocular reflexes (VOR) have shown that its spatial characteristics are best explained by a strategy that lies halfway between the optimal image stabilization and perfect compliance with Listing's law. Here we argue that these spatial characteristics are fully compatible with an optimal strategy under the condition of a restrained gain of the torsional velocity-to-position integration. One implication of this finding is that the rotational VORs must override the default operation mode of the ocular plant that, according to recent findings, mechanically favours movements obeying Listing's law.