Assessing For Nystagmus

Sometimes, when we don’t wee immediate value in an assessment tool, we decide to stop using it and quickly forget the correct technique for performing the evaluation. Once an assessment falls from out tool box, we may never use it again. Nystagmus is one of those assessments that can be tremendously useful when doing a neurologic asseesment. In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a quick primer on how to perform the assessment, courtesy of our friends over at EMS1.

Now it’s your turn: Do you use the nystagmus evaluation? Do you find it useful? What else do people need to know about performing the assessment properly? Leave us a comment and let us know.
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  1. Comes right after I assess pupil reactivity in my detailed neuro assessment. Good payoff vs. ease of interpretation, especially when you’re at that point where you’re digging a little deeper — en route with everything else done, or on scene with a patient considering refusal. I do the tip-of-my-finger behind the penlight as well and draw the classic H. I have noted that the elderly tend to track somewhat brokenly at baseline — not the true catch-up of nystagmus, but broken saccades rather than the smooth pursuit a younger patient would demonstrate. They may also have some trouble following directions — watch here, don’t move your head, etc.