Nystagmus Basics

Normal Models that Simulate Dysfunction
  • Louis F. Dell’Osso
Part of the Topics in Biomedical Engineering International Book Series book series (TOBE)

Abstract

Instabilities of the ocular motor system may take either of two forms, nystagmus or saccadic oscillations. Nystagmus (an involuntary oscillation of the eyes) is caused by instabilities in subsystems responsible for slow eye movements, whereas saccadic oscillations stem from subsystems responsible for generating saccadic eye movements. Nystagmus may exhibit either a pendular (sinusoidal) or a jerk waveform. In jerk waveforms, the slow phases displace the eye and fovea away from the target and the fast (saccadic) phases attempt to refoveate it. An important indication of the underlying mechanism for a particular type of nystagmus is the shape of the slow phase. Linear (constant velocity) slow phases of jerk nystagmus stem from tonic imbalances in any of the ocular motor subsystems. Decelerating ‘decreasing velocity) slow phases of jerk nystagmus are due to failure of gaze holding mechanisms, either central (common neural integrator) or peripheral (extraocular plant). Finally, accelerating (increasing velocity) slow phases of jerk nystagmus indicate a basic instability in a subsystem that causes it to “run away.” Pendular nystagmus indicates a resonant-frequency oscillation of a subsystem.

Keywords

Smooth Pursuit Efference Copy Ocular Motor Neural Integrator Congenital Nystagmus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louis F. Dell’Osso
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of NeurologyUniversity HospitalsClevelandUSA

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