POMU: Patient information
Eye movement disorders (EMDs) are not rare. They can occur at any age from birth to old age. EMDs can be symptomatic giving rise to debilitating double vision (diplopia), dizziness and imbalance, and the illusion of an unsteady visual world (oscillopsia). However, often they are asymptomatic but visible to others, or can be detected with specialised equipment, called an eye tracker. There are many kinds of EMDs. Often they turn out to be benign, but they should always be taken seriously as they can sometimes be associated with neurological conditions or underlying visual deficits.
In POMU, we can assess eye movements clinically with an eye tracker, if needed, in order assess the presence or absence of EMDs. This will provide information about the likely underlying causes and whether other investigations are required, such as a brain scan and additional visual tests.
What happens when you arrive at POMU? Typically, you will have been referred by another health professional who will have sent a referral letter ahead of time with a clinical question or suspicion of what might be wrong.
Initially, we will ask you (or your carer) a variety of questions to get an idea of the background to the problem. Occasionally, some problems can be associated with a medication that you may be taking for another conditions (i.e. a side-effect). So, if you are taking medications, we ask you to bring along a list and the dosages. Once we have your history, we then make a clinical examination of your eye movements. This is quite painless and gives us the basic information about any EMD that we can see. Depending on what we find (or don’t find), we may then record your eye movements with a specialised eye tracker. This requires you to sit in front of the instrument with your chin on a chin rest and look at moving visual targets. This is harmless and not invasive. The chin-rest is always de-sanitised between patients.
The Nystagmus Information Pack has been developed with funding from Nystagmus Network and the University of Sheffield. Numerous people affected by nystagmus and professionals with expertise in nystagmus have inputted into the development of the pack, which is now being made freely available for download via the University of Sheffield website.