Nystagmus

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nystagmus

[nə′stag·məs]
(medicine)
Involuntary oscillatory movement of the eyeballs.

Nystagmus

 

an involuntary, rapid rhythmic oscillation of the eyeballs. The bilateral form of nystagmus is much more common than the unilateral form. Nystagmus can be lateral, rotatory, vertical, or diagonal, depending on the direction of the oscillations of the eyeball. The condition need not be pathological. For example, rotatory nystagmus can be induced in healthy persons who are revolving in a swivel chair, optokinetic nystagmus can result from fixing the eyes on moving objects, and caloric nystagmus can result when cold or warm water is poured into the ear.

Nystagmus is pathological when it results from a morbid condition in the vestibulocochlear nerve, in the vestibular nuclei of the brainstem, or in the labyrinth of the vestibular apparatus. Nystagmus can also result from a morbid process in the cerebellum, an inflammation of the inner ear, cerebrocranial traumas, infections and toxicoses of the brain, or neoplasms in the brain. In rarer cases, nystagmus is caused by eye diseases. Miner’s nystagmus is an occupational disease in miners who work with a pick under poorly illuminated and poorly ventilated conditions. Because these workers are constantly looking up or to the side, certain eye muscles become strained.

Nystagmus is treated by eliminating the underlying cause. In cases of miner’s nystagmus, the worker is transferred to jobs above the ground.

REFERENCE

Tsimmerman, G. S. Klinicheskaia otonevrologiia. Moscow, 1952.

V. A. KARLOV

References in periodicals archive ?
The horizontal gaze nystagmus test involves asking a subject to focus on an object such as a pen held about a foot away, just above eye level, and to follow the object as the test administrator moves it from side to side.
The court held, inter alia, that the issue in the case was whether a report of a person driving under administered narcotics, and the failure of a horizontal gaze nystagmus test is sufficient evidence for a police officer to make a stop and/or arrest for driving under the influence.
Drivers are asked to recite the alphabet, stand on one leg, complete a nine-step heel-to-toe walk and watch as a pen is moved in front of them as part of a horizontal gaze nystagmus test.
Law enforcement authorities have used the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) L test for years as one of several field sobriety tests.