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April 1970

Ocular Bobbing

Author Affiliations

Torrance, Calif
From the Division of Neurology, Harbor General Hospital, Torrance, Calif; and the Departments of Medicine (Dr. Nelson) and Pathology (Dr. Johnston), UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles.

Arch Neurol. 1970;22(4):348-356. doi:10.1001/archneur.1970.00480220062009

AN infrequently observed eye movement disorder in comatose patients termed "ocular bobbing" was first reported by Fisher1-3 in 1959 and consists of sudden conjugate downward excursions of the eyes from their resting central position. Lateral eye movements were almost always abolished in his cases which consisted mostly of patients with basilar artery thrombosis or pontine hemorrhage. Passing mention of the phenomenon also occurs in other reports concerned with central brain stem damage or central gaze mechanisms.4 Recently, Yap et al5 reported vertical oscillations of the eyes in an awake patient with palatal myoclonus and suggested that the movements resembled ocular bobbing, although the frequency and nature of the oscillations were quite different from the original description of the phenomenon. Their report raised further questions about the origin of the rhythmic drive to the eyes in such cases.

The purpose of the present

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