This site is intended for healthcare professionals

Go to /sign-in page

You can view 5 more pages before signing in

Assessment of nystagmus

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

The eyes are assessed at rest:

  • jerk nystagmus may be seen at rest (2nd or 3rd degree)
  • nystagmus with equal velovity in both directions is termed pendular nystagmus and is associated with central scotomata

The eye movements in the horizontal and vertical plane are assessed by asking the patient to follow a finger which is moved smoothly at a distance of about 50 cm.

  • jerk nystagmus may be elicited in a particular direction of gaze
  • nystagmus in an abducting eye with failure of adduction of the other eye suggests an internuclear ophthalmoplegia

Saccadic eye movements to the left and right may reveal nystagmus-like movements including:

  • subtle internuclear ophthalmoplegias
  • opsoclonus
  • ocular dysmetria
  • ocular flutter

Nystagmus may be provoked by specific positions of the head - this is termed positional nystagmus.

Related pages

Create an account to add page annotations

Add information to this page that would be handy to have on hand during a consultation, such as a web address or phone number. This information will always be displayed when you visit this page

The content herein is provided for informational purposes and does not replace the need to apply professional clinical judgement when diagnosing or treating any medical condition. A licensed medical practitioner should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.


Copyright 2024 Oxbridge Solutions Limited, a subsidiary of OmniaMed Communications Limited. All rights reserved. Any distribution or duplication of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited. Oxbridge Solutions receives funding from advertising but maintains editorial independence.