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August 1960

Opsoclonus—Ataxic Conjugate Movements of the Eyes

Author Affiliations

From the Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute, The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Present address of Dr. Smith: Division of Ophthalmology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1960;64(2):244-250. doi:10.1001/archopht.1960.01840010246010

The term "opsoclonus" was introduced by Orzechowski,1 a Polish neurologist, in 1913 to describe unusual movements of the eyes in nonepidemic encephalitis. Walsh,2 in 1947, described as "ataxic conjugate movements of the eyes" an illness in three children characterized by a sudden onset of unusual ocular movements of wide amplitude, followed by complete recovery in 6 to 8 weeks. Review of the literature reveals that these two conditions are identical, and to our knowledge, a total of 14 cases has been reported to the present. Eight cases were documented in the Polish literature from 1913-1927,1 and six other cases have been reported in English since 1927.2,4,5 At the outset, it should be stressed that these chaotic ocular movements differ from nystagmus, as the latter is rhythmic by definition. The purpose of this report is to document two additional cases of opsoclonus, or ataxic conjugate movements of