Bedside video-ophthalmoscopy as an aid in the diagnosis of central vestibular syndromes


The evaluation of central vestibular syndromes, especially in the acute setting, can pose a challenge even for the most experienced clinician. Of particular importance is the evaluation of ocular torsion and nystagmus, which can be sensitive for central vestibular pathology, but easily missed by the untrained eye. We present two cases of acute vestibular syndrome of central origin in which the use of magnified fundoscopy at the bedside aided the precise anatomical diagnosis to inform appropriate further management. We also review aspects of the pathophysiology and anatomy of vestibular roll plane disorders. In case 1, the finding of position-dependent ocular torsion facilitated a rapid distinction between central skew deviation and a trochlear nerve palsy. In case 2, the fundoscopic magnification identified a pure rotatory nystagmus indicative of a central vestibular disorder. Ophthalmoscopy remains a useful bedside technique in acute vertigo, but the use of inexpensive magnification with a smartphone can provide objective and recordable evidence of central vestibular pathology, aiding therapeutic decisions.

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The authors would like to thank Alberto Martins Pina Rodrigues for helping the recording of the images to both cases.


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Correspondence to Victor Rodrigues Pereira Evangelista.

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Victor Evangelista Rodrigues Pereira reports no disclosures. Sofia Mermelstein reports no disclosures. Marcos Martins da Silva reports no disclosures. Diego Kaski reports no disclosures.

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Evangelista, V.R.P., Mermelstein, S.A., da Silva, M.M. et al. Bedside video-ophthalmoscopy as an aid in the diagnosis of central vestibular syndromes. J Neurol (2021).

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  • Vestibular
  • Neuro-otology
  • Eye movements
  • Neuro-ophthalmology
  • Stroke
  • Fundoscopy