Oscillopsia is an illusory movement of the environment due to excessive slip of images on the retina ("retinal slip") during active or passive head movement, producing a complaint of blurring, jumping, or oscillation of the visual representation of the environment. Oscillopsia is most often due to acquired bilateral loss of vestibular function (loss of the vestibuloocular reflexes). Other recognized causes of oscillopsia include:

  1. Acquired nystagmus
  2. Superior oblique myokymia
  3. Other ocular oscillations.


Oscillopsia does not occur in congenital nystagmus, nor in opsoclonus, presumably due to the operation of the visual suppression mechanism which normally operates during saccadic eye movements.

Oscillopsia may be treated with clonazepam; if due to acquired pendular nystagmus anticholinesterase or alcohol may help.


Leigh RJ. Oscillopsia: impaired vision during motion in the absence of the vestibulo-ocular reflex. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 1998; 65: 808


Cross References

Myokymia; Nystagmus; Opsoclonus; Vestibulo-ocular reflexes