Variants of windmill nystagmus

Kwang Dong Choi, Hae Kyung Shin, Ji Soo Kim, Sung Hee Kim, Jae Hwan Choi, Hyo Jung Kim, David S. Zee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Windmill nystagmus is characterized by a clock-like rotation of the beating direction of a jerk nystagmus suggesting separate horizontal and vertical oscillators, usually 90° out of phase. We report oculographic characteristics in three patients with variants of windmill nystagmus in whom the common denominator was profound visual loss due to retinal diseases. Two patients showed a clock-like pattern, while in the third, the nystagmus was largely diagonal (in phase or 180° out of phase) but also periodically changed direction by 180°. We hypothesize that windmill nystagmus is a unique manifestation of “eye movements of the blind.” It emerges when the central structures, including the cerebellum, that normally keep eye movements calibrated and gaze steady can no longer perform their task, because they are deprived of the retinal image motion that signals a need for adaptive recalibration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1375-1381
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Blindness
  • Gaze stabilizing mechanism
  • Periodic alternating nystagmus
  • Velocity-storage mechanism
  • Windmill nystagmus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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