What Is a VNG Test?A videonystagmography (VNG) test is a diagnostic procedure that assesses your inner ears and evaluates your eye movements. The goal is to determine if you have nystagmus, a vestibular disorder, or another condition affecting your balance and causing your dizziness. In short, it aims to get to the root cause of your symptoms so you can get the appropriate treatment.
What Is Nystagmus?Nystagmus, also called dancing eyes, is the involuntary movement of your eyes. They may move rapidly or slowly, up and down, side to side, or even around in a circular pattern. The condition can have many causes, such as:
- Motion sickness
- Head injuries
- Multiple sclerosis
- Certain types of medications, such as those for seizures
- Inner ear problems
- Uncontrolled movement of one or both eyes
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty reading
- Head tilting
What Is a Vestibular Disorder?Your vestibular system, located in your inner ear, plays a critical role in your movement and balance. A vestibular disorder is any condition that affects proper inner ear function . Like nystagmus, vestibular disorders can have many causes. Poor circulation in the inner ear, infections, calcium deposits in your semicircular canals, and traumatic brain injuries can all affect the structures in the vestibular system. Common symptoms include:
- Feeling off-balance
- A lack of coordination
- Blurry vision
What Other Conditions Can VNG Help Diagnose?A VNG test can also be beneficial for diagnosing conditions such as:
CybersicknessCybersickness is similar to motion sickness, except you aren’t moving. Instead, the condition occurs when using electronic devices — your phone, your laptop, or multiple screens at once. It may also happen during a virtual meeting as someone else controls what’s happening on your computer screen. The primary cause of cybersickness is a continuously moving visual image. Symptoms include a dizziness or balance problem, headaches, eye strain, and nausea. Cybersickness treatment options include reducing your screen time, taking frequent screen breaks, slowing how quickly you scroll and prism glasses. Medications that combat motion sickness may help if you can’t avoid situations that trigger the symptoms.
Convergence InsufficiencyYour eyes are supposed to come together when looking at objects up close. Working as a team, they should make a series of adjustments to form a single image. Convergence insufficiency occurs when the two eyes have difficulty coming together (or converging) to look at nearby objects, resulting in blurred or double vision. Other symptoms include headaches, eye soreness, and difficulty concentrating. Treatments include vision therapy and prism glasses.
Meniere’s DiseaseMeniere’s disease is an inner ear disorder that typically only affects one ear. It causes vertigo, tinnitus (ringing in your ear), and hearing loss. You may also feel as though your ear is clogged. There is no cure, but you can manage the symptoms with treatments such as motion sickness medications and reducing your sodium intake. In some cases, surgery can also help.
LabyrinthitisLabyrinthitis develops as a result of an inner ear infection or swelling. When this happens, you may experience vertigo and balance issues. For some people, the condition may go away on its own. Those with an infection may need antibiotics.
How Do You Take a VNG Test?You take a VNG test in a dark room while wearing special goggles. The goggles have a small camera that will record eye movements. The VNG test consists of three separate parts:
- Ocular testing. A technician assesses your ability to follow visual targets with your eyes.
- Positional testing. The technician moves your head and body into different positions to check for inappropriate eye movements which is a sign of nystagmus.
- Caloric testing. The technician blows alternating hot and cold air — or water — into your ear. Again, this tests for nystagmus. It can also help determine if there’s damage to the nerves in one or both of your inner ears.
Is a VNG Test Painful?In short, no, a VNG test isn’t painful though it can cause minor discomfort in some patients. The exam is relatively straightforward and usually takes about an hour to complete. You may need to make some preparations before the day of your test. For instance, you may need to stop taking certain medications or avoid alcohol and caffeine for at least 24 to 48 hours. If you typically wear contacts, you’ll want to wear your glasses to your appointment. You’ll receive more specific instructions when you schedule your VNG test.
When Should You Take a VNG Test?If you experience any of the symptoms discussed above — uncontrolled eye movements, dizziness, vertigo, difficulty focusing, poor balance — and they’re persistent, you might want to consider scheduling a VNG test.
What If a VNG Test Doesn’t Help Diagnose Me?While a VNG test can determine if you have nystagmus or a vestibular disorder, it may not always be able to pinpoint the exact issue. Another condition, such as binocular vision dysfunction (BVD), may be causing your symptoms. BVD is the inability of your eyes to work together to focus on a single object. As a result, your brain can’t merge what each eye sees into a single clear image. If you aren’t able to get a diagnosis with a VNG test, you may require additional testing. Vision Specialists can help. If you’re experiencing dizziness, vertigo, poor balance, and other disruptive or uncomfortable symptoms, we can help you get to the bottom of them and help you get the relief you need. For more information and to schedule your appointment, visit Vision Specialists today.