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Involuntary oscillatory movement of the eyeballs.



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.


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


References in periodicals archive ?
Spontaneous nystagmus (19% and, nystagmus provoked by horizontal headshaking (35%) [60]
Thus, it is important to identify the type of any underlying spontaneous nystagmus.
Patients were divided into Group 1, in which end points were subjective (no complaints of vertigo attacks), and Group 2, in which end points were objective (head-shaking, head-thrust, spontaneous nystagmus measurements).
2,12) ENG may detect directional preponderance, reduced caloric response, spontaneous nystagmus, positional nystagmus, or no abnormalities at all.
The simultaneous binaural bithermal (SBB) test showed only the preexisting spontaneous nystagmus, and therefore there was no caloric-induced response to either the cool or warm simultaneous stimulus.
Spontaneous nystagmus is believed to be an irritative phenomenon in which the direction of the fast phase is opposite that of the other ear.
In the case of spontaneous nystagmus described by Brookler (Vestibulology Clinic), bearing symptoms suggested a left-sided problem, while the reduced vestibular response showed a right-sided lesion.
All 10 patients had second- or third-degree spontaneous nystagmus in light, and all reported vertigo and nausea.
In 1999, Minor wrote that the best time to discontinue treatment is when spontaneous nystagmus, head-shaking nystagmus, or head-thrust signs are present; vertigo was controlled in 91% of patients, and profound hearing loss occurred in only 3%.
Only six patients had experienced an immediate postoperative complication: two patients had an inadequate meatoconchoplasty, one had perichondritis, one had spontaneous nystagmus, one had transient facial paresis, and one developed a total sensorineural hearing loss.

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