Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A rapid, involuntary, oscillatory motion of the eyeball.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. rapid involuntary eye movement, usually lateral

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A rapid involuntary oscillation of the eyeballs.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In medicine, involuntary lateral oscillatory (sometimes rotatory, rarely vertical) motion of the eyes.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. involuntary movements of the eyeballs; its presence or absence is used to diagnose a variety of neurological and visual disorders

Etymologies

New Latin, from Greek nustagmos, drowsiness.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First attested in 1798. From New Latin nystagmus, from Ancient Greek νυσταγμός (nustagmos, "nodding, drowsiness"), from νυστάζω (nustazō, "nod, be sleepy"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • There ` s also a test called nystagmus, in which an officer either a pen or his finger and actually tests the nystagmus, which is a natural twitching of somebody ` s eyes in response to a finger that ` s being moved from left to right.

    CNN Transcript May 2, 2008

  • Her left shoulder, sometimes both shoulders, shook frequently, as did her eyes, a condition called nystagmus, making objects appear as if they were bouncing.

    Understand the hype over hypnosis

  • Because of my earlier research, I did not doubt for a second that the nystagmus was the result of a reflex action of the semi-circular canals.

    Robert Bárány - Nobel Lecture

  • There is a nervous affliction of the eyes, called by pathologists nystagmus, which is characterized by a perpetual weaving to and fro of the eyeballs; it is impossible for the unfortunate victim to fix his look upon a given point without the greatest effort.

    The Paternoster Ruby

  • Born without retinas to help his pupils focus and with a condition called nystagmus that causes involuntary eye movement, Goodrich sees a world of blurred colors and shapes.

    StarTribune.com rss feed

  • Born without irises to help his pupils focus and with a condition called nystagmus that causes involuntary eye movement, Goodrich sees a world of blurred colors and shapes.

    StarTribune.com rss feed

  • Your eyes may start moving by themselves, it is called nystagmus

    [Help] Most Recent Posts

  • If nystagmus, which is the involuntary jerking of the eyes, can be detected, the suspect will likely be arrested.

    Stuttgart Daily Leader Homepage RSS

  • I stumbled upon this sight through a google alert for the word "nystagmus" a condition I also have. i am a writer as well--nonfiction only--and my first two books are about living with nystagmus--a picture book for children and a medical guide for parents and adults.

    Medical Updates

  • Neurologic exam revealed nystagmus, but no seizure activity.

    Carbamazepine

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • From the Greek nustazein 'nod, be sleepy.'

    December 24, 2012

  • This is an occupational disease affecting the nerves of the eyes, causing a spasmodic movement of the eyeball, either rotary or from side to side. According to Home Office statistics, nystagmus is the most widely prevalent of all industrial diseases, and is found only among miners.

    The conclusion of the Nystagmus Committee is that the cause of the disease is defective illumination.


    Symptoms

    The first symptom is failure of sight. Later the sufferer complains of lights and other objects dancing before his eyes. He then complains of giddiness and headache, particularly across the temples and at the back of the head, inability to see at night, and dread of light. These symptoms are most marked after exertion or stooping.

    The physical signs of the disease are the characteristic involuntary and irregular rotary movement of the eyeball, and twitching of the eyelids and eyebrows when the man is exposed to any light.

    One of the most characteristic signs of the disease is the failure of what is known as the dark adaptation sense. This is inability to adapt oneself to darkness on first leaving the light.

    The types of cases may be divided into two: first, the "Latent," in which oscillation is slight and there is no disability; and second, the "Active," in which there is either partial or total incapacity.

    The mental condition of the miner consequent on his anxiety and lack of confidence cannot be overlooked. The erroneous belief that the disease causes loss of sight has often caused unnecessary suffering and the development of psycho-neurotic symptoms.

    Some men having latent nystagmus may be able to work for years with very little discomfort, whilst those who have the disease in its active form have to do work on the pit bank, or leave the pit for a time.


    Preventive Measures may be summarised as follows:

    (a) Increase the illumination of the pit bottom and roadways, as far inbye as possible, by the use of whitewash or light-coloured stone dust. This will enable the dark adaptation process to be can-led out as quickly and comfortably as possible, and the man will get his "pit eyes" the more easily.

    (b) Every workman should carry a piece of tin to shade his lamp, or one half the surface of the lamp glass should be frosted, to prevent inconvenience to those following.

    (c) Glare should be avoided by the use of a shade or tinted glass. It must be borne in mind, however, that frosted, tinted, diopteric glasses, and the like, seriously affect the illumination.

    July 24, 2008