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Dr. James
Dr. James, Board Certified Ophthalmologist
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Experience:  Eye Physician and Surgeon
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my son failed a nystagmus test,plus he had lost his glasses

Resolved Question:

my son failed a nystagmus test,plus he had lost his glasses and was wearing his step fathers glasses which barely help.

what reasons do people fail this test?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. James replied 4 years ago.
Hello,

How old is your son?
How was the test performed?
When was his last eye exam?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
the test was performed by college police who stopped his friends and himself while walking to a dorm.
it was a follow the pencil with your eyes. he said his eyes got tired.."went on forever", and requested a breath test.
last exam was two years ago, but has one scheduled.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
the test was performed by college police who stopped his friends and himself while walking to a dorm.
it was a follow the pencil with your eyes. he said his eyes got tired.."went on forever", and requested a breath test.
last exam was two years ago, but has one scheduled.
HE is 20 and has worn glasses since age4.
Expert:  Dr. James replied 4 years ago.
Hello,

Thank you for the additional information. It appears the college police officer was performing a field sobriety test. One of test is a horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which looks for the ability to follow an object smoothly. Nystagmus is when the eye movement is jerk-like instead of smooth.

The eyes have many parts of the brain which controls it coordinated movements. Alcohol and other drugs may impair those functions which is why officers use it as one of the factors to decide if a person is under the influence.

Nystagmus can be pre-existing and the list of things causing it is very long. It is important to classify what type of nystagmus is present -- upbeat, downbeat, periordic, etc. I'd recommend your son have a complete exam by an ophthalmologist to confirm any abnormal findings seen by the officer. I'd also recommend you get a copy of the police report as reference.

Please remember to press the accept button so I can receive credit for assisting you.



Edited by Dr. James on 8/7/2010 at 11:10 AM EST
Dr. James, Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 2282
Experience: Eye Physician and Surgeon
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