Learn how to assess the six cardinal fields of gaze as a nurse.
In nursing school, you will have to complete a nursing head-to-toe assessment and during this assessment you will have to assess the six cardinal fields of gaze.
What is the purpose of assessing the six cardinal fields of gaze? It helps to determine how well the six extraocular eye muscles are working along with cranial nerves III, IV, VI.
What are the Six Extraocular Eye Muscles?
- Superior rectus (upward movement)
- Superior oblique (downward and outward movement)
- Lateral rectus (outward movement)
- Medial rectus (inward movement)
- Inferior oblique (upward and outward movement)
- Inferior rectus (downward movement)
Video on How to Assess the Six Cardinal Fields of Gaze
To assess the six cardinal fields of gaze: use a penlight or some type of object a patient can track with their eyes.
- Position the penlight 12-14 inches from the patient’s face.
- Then have the patient follow your penlight in the following directions (always start in the midline)
- right upper to left lower
- left upper to right lower
- right side to left side
- Normal (smooth movement of the eyes as they track the penlight)
- Abnormal (involuntary shaking of the eyes called nystagmus)
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