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Barany nystagmus drum, 1960-1970

Optometrists use the Barany nystagmus drum to assess a condition known as optic nystagmus. This causes involuntary movements of the eye, usually from side to side. The handheld revolving drum is made of wood, metal and plastic. Cartoon-style characters, separated by thick black lines, are on the outside. The drum almost certainly tested children. Their eyes attempted to follow the figures as they rotated around the drum. The device was developed in the 1920s by Austrian Robert Bárány (1876-1936). He had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1914 for his work on the inner ear.

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Glossary: ophthalmology

The branch of medicine dealing with the diseases and surgery of the visual pathways (usually the eyes or the brain).

Glossary: nystagus drum

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