Extraocular muscle function testing

Alternative names
EOM; Extraocular movement; Ocular motility examinatin

Definition
This test is an examination of the function of the eye muscles. A doctor observes the movement of the eyes in six specific directions.

How the test is performed
You are asked to sit or stand with your head erect and a forward gaze. Your health care provider will hold a pen or other object 12 inches in front of your face. He or she will then move the object in several directions and ask you to follow it with your eyes, without moving your head.

How to prepare for the test
No special preparation is necessary for this test.

How the test will feel
The test involves only normal movement of the eyes.

Why the test is performed
This test is performed to evaluate any weakness or other problem in the extraocular muscles, which may result in double vision or rapid, uncontrolled eye movements.

Normal Values
Normal movement of the eyes in all directions.

What abnormal results mean
If there are uncontrolled eye movements during the test, nystagmus is present.

What the risks are
There are no risks associated with this test.

Special considerations
Slight nystagmus is normal with an extreme sideways gaze.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 6, 2012
by Simon D. Mitin, M.D.

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