What Is Oculocephalic Reflex?


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An oculocephalic reflex can be defined as the movement of the eyes for maintaining forward gaze in response to rotation of the neck to a particular direction. This is a natural response in a normal person. In medicine, oculocephalic reflex is measured to evaluate vestibular pathologies in dizzy patients. In cases of accidents and brain injuries, the case of a person having negative oculocephalic reflex is considered as very poor prognosis. The test is also carried out to assess if a patient is brain dead.

The technique of testing oculocephalic reflex involves keeping the eyes of the patient open and then rotating the head briskly from one side to the other. In cases where the brainstems of the patient are intact, the gaze deviate contra laterally and the patient looks away from rotation. In cases where the brainstems of the patient are injured, eyes follow the direction of the head movement.

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