What is Voluntary Nystagmus?

Nystagmus generally refers to an involuntary rapid movement of the eyes frequently observed in people with conditions that affect the midbrain, albinos or people with genetic conditions. The term “voluntary nystagmus” refers to the ability of a person to make their eyes appear to vibrate in a rapid, horizontal motion at will. A survey of a college age population revealed that 8% could produce voluntary nystagmus. It seems to be genetic to some degree, as 79% of those in the survey had relatives who could also perform it. Voluntary nystagmus can be differentiated from other forms of nystagmus by its frequency, duration, and occurrence in individuals whose neuro-ophthalmological examination is normal.

Video of Voluntary Nystagmus


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