Bilateral vestibular loss, oscillopsia, and the cervico-ocular reflex

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1985 Jun;93(3):403-7. doi: 10.1177/019459988509300322.


Oscillopsia during head movement occurs in patients with bilateral vestibular loss and may be transient or persistent. To investigate mechanisms underlying recovery we tested the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR), visual-vestibular interaction, and the cervico-ocular reflex (COR); we used a pseudorandom oscillatory stimulus with a frequency band width of 0 to 5 Hz in six patients with bilaterally absent caloric responses and in 10 normal controls. Seven control subjects had low-gain COR responses, but these were anticompensatory with respect to the VOR. Three asymptomatic patients with an absent or grossly deficient VOR had increased oculomotor responses at all frequencies when oscillated in light. Compensatory COR responses were detected in these patients but not in patients with persisting oscillopsia. In some patients with bilateral vestibular loss, augmented cervico-ocular and visual reflexes may compensate, at least partially, for an absent VOR.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Caloric Tests
  • Eye Movements
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular
  • Humans
  • Labyrinth Diseases / etiology
  • Labyrinth Diseases / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reflex / physiology*
  • Reflex, Acoustic*
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / physiopathology*
  • Vision Disorders / physiopathology*