What is Nystagmus? Shaking Eyes?

Picture: Quick Reference Neuroscience Second Edition by Sharon A. Gutman

Generally speaking, in Multiple Sclerosis, there are two types of nystagmus; vertical and horizontal. Of coarse you can have a combination of both but what is Nystagmus? Ever notice that when you scan your eyes from left to right/right to left or up and down that they seem to quickly jump, skip, or shake? Is it hard to focus on a stationary object because it seems to be skipping around a bit? Nystagmus is a quick involuntary back and forth skipping/jerking of the eye. Nystagmus (in MS) may be caused by a lesion in the part of the brain that controls eye movement. In some cases, nystagmus can be caused also be caused by Ataxia. This is externally visible meaning, other people can see your eyes skipping or if you were to film yourself (like I have in the past; seen below) you can see it yourself while trying to slowly scan your eyes horizontally or vertically.

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My Leg is Shaking! What is Clonus?

vertibral-spinal-columnlateralClonus is an involuntary rapid and rhythmic contraction of a muscle that occurs when the affected limb is put in a specific position and usually continues for the duration that position is held. In Multiple Sclerosis (MS), clonus is usually the result of a lesion in the spinal cord between C1 and T12 (basically the neck to the middle of the back). How low or how high up the lesion is in the spinal cord will determine what muscle group is affected by clonus. People with MS usually see clonus in muscles affected by spasticity such as the legs. Treatment is rather limited and usually consists of physical therapy exercises but in some cases, Botox injections may be used.

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