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November 1966

Seesaw Nystagmus

Author Affiliations

From the divisions of neurology and ophthalmology, University of Colorado Medical Center, Denver.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1966;76(5):668-675. doi:10.1001/archopht.1966.03850010670008

Seesaw nystagmus is a sequence of abnormal eye movements in which one eye moves up as the other moves down. In addition to the alternating opposed vertical movements, there is rotation (torsion) of the eyes. The eyes rotate synchronously with the up and down movements, both eyes rotating in the same direction; the eye moving up intorts, and the eye moving down extorts (Fig 1).

Sixteen cases of seesaw nystagmus have been reported to date, mostly in recent years. Four patients with seesaw nystagmus have been studied in Denver within the past two years. The findings in these patients are presented because of new observations in this apparently rare condition.

Report of Cases 

Patient 1.  —This 41-year-old white woman was admitted to Colorado General Hospital on March 30, 1964, with complaints of visual difficulties, headaches, and weakness. The patient had thyrotoxicosis at the age of 19, treated by thyroidectomy and

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