Oscillopsia of peripheral vestibular origin. Central and cervical compensatory mechanisms

Acta Otolaryngol. 1987 Sep-Oct;104(3-4):307-14. doi: 10.3109/00016488709107333.


Eight patients with absent vestibular function categorized into four grades according to the disability they suffered from oscillopsia have been studied with a view to correlating its severity with the development of gaze stabilizing compensatory mechanisms. Eye movements were recorded while the following sinusoidal rotational stimuli were delivered: 1) trunk on head oscillation in the dark (COR); 2) head on trunk oscillation in the dark; 3) head on trunk and whole body (head and trunk) oscillation in the light in the presence of optic fixation. The COR was potentiated in all the patients regardless of their clinical status. Velocity gains (peak slow phase eye velocity/peak head velocity) during whole body rotation were significantly lower than head on trunk gains in the light in the better compensated patients. Since in the absence of vestibular function whole body rotation involves only the otokinetic system (OKN), this finding implies a depression of the OKN in these patients which can be corrected during head on trunk movements by virtue of a dynamic input from the neck. The results suggest that the processes of recovery from oscillopsia are dependent, in the main, upon the development of central mechanisms by means of which undesirable image movement across the retina is perceptually suppressed. Depression of OKN may be secondary to this perceptual rearrangement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Eye Movements
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular
  • Head / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement
  • Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular*
  • Vision Disorders / physiopathology*