Eye Tests


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Contrary to popular belief, the officer is not checking to make sure you can simply follow the pen or their finger; They are checking to see if your eyes jerk during testing. This jerking is an involuntary movement that may indicate the presence of alcohol and/or drugs in a person’s system. It can also be caused by certain medical conditions and medications.

Eye Tests Procedures


If you are wearing glasses, the officer should have you remove them prior to testing. You should be faced away from any moving lights and passing traffic. The tests should then be administered as follows:

Medical Assessment

  • Checks for equal pupil size
  • Checks for jerking while looking straight ahead
  • Checks for equal tracking (eyes follow the object together)

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

Lack of Smooth Pursuit

  • Holds object slightly above eye level
  • Holds object 12-15 inches from nose
  • Moves object to their right taking two seconds to bring eye as far to the side as it can go
  • Moves object taking two seconds to get back to center
  • Continues to move object passed center to their left taking two seconds to bring eye as far to the side as it can go
  • Moves object taking two seconds to get back to center
  • Repeats test

Distinct and Sustained Nystagmus at Maximum Deviation

  • Holds object slightly above eye level
  • Holds object 12-15 inches from nose
  • Moves object to their right until eye has gone as far to the side as possible
  • Holds out at least four seconds
  • Moves object back across face to the left until eye has gone as far to the side as possible
  • Holds out at least four seconds
  • Repeats test

Onset of Nystagmus Prior to 45 Degrees

  • Holds object slightly above eye level
  • Holds object 12-15 inches from nose
  • Moves object out to their right
  • Moves object at a pace that would take four seconds to reach shoulder
  • Stops when sees jerking
  • Holds to make sure continues
  • Checks to see that white of the eye is still showing
  • Moves object out to their left
  • Moves object at a pace that would take four seconds to reach shoulder
  • Stops when sees jerking
  • Holds to make sure continues
  • Checks to see that white of the eye is still showing
  • Repeats test

Vertical Gaze Nystagmus

  • Holds object horizontally
  • Holds object 12- 15 inches from nose
  • Instructs to hold head still and follow the object with your eyes only
  • Raises object until eyes are elevated as far as possible
  • Holds for four seconds

Check your tests against the above procedures. If the officer did not substantially comply with the procedures, the accuracy is compromised and may be sufficient grounds to keep the tests out of evidence.

Continue on to Walk and Turn Test


COLUMBUS OHIO DUI ATTORNEY | THE MAHER LAW FIRM | 614-205-2208