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Community Work Service

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Caloric Nystagmus

Definition - What does Caloric Nystagmus mean?

Caloric nystagmus is seen during a caloric test, where the individual experiences an involuntary twitching or quick movement of the eyeball when warm or hot water is put into the ear.

Caloric: What it Means

The definition of caloric pertains to heat, or to calories. With caloric nystagmus and in caloric tests, it is referring to the heat of the water used in the test to determine nystagmus in an individual.

Nystagmus: What it Means

The definition of nystagmus is the involuntary twitching or quick movement of the eyeball. In caloric nystagmus and in a caloric test, nystagmus present or not present in a person's eye will determine if their levels are normal, or if they are impaired.

Caloric Test: How it Works

The purpose of a caloric test is to examine the balancing systems and mechanisms of the ear, specifically the inner ear. The test is performed by inserting warm or cold water into an individual's ear. In most cases, if a person experiences nystagmus, or involuntary twitching or quick movements of the eyeball, it determines that the individual has normal balance levels according to the inner ear. However, if the test shows an absence of nystagmus or reduced nystagmus, it assumes that there is some sort of impairment involved with the individual.

Often, this test will signify if a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol during caloric nystagmus. Because this test is considered a more invasive type of examination, often officers along the highway choose different means of examining a driver for impairment. However, due to the vast amount of studies and effective research done on caloric tests and caloric nystagmus, it is considered a reputable test for not only drivers under the influence, but for testing individuals in other medical circumstances.

(Read more: - tests - drugs - alcohol )

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