Nystagmus is an uncontrolled movement of the eyes. The movement can be slow and fast. It involves both eyes and may be:
There are several types of nystagmus:
Infantile nystagmus is usually due to problems in the part of the brain that controls the eyes.
Acquired nystagmus is usually due to problems with vision or the nervous system.
Sometimes the cause is unknown.
Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
Nystagmus may cause:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam may be done. You may be sent to doctors who treat eye, ear, and nervous system problems.
Tests may include:
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The goal is to treat underlying causes, ease symptoms, and improve vision. Sometimes nystagmus can be cured by removing the cause. This may mean stopping certain medicines, drugs, or alcohol. Many times, however, this condition is permanent. It may be reduced but not cured.
Treatment options may be:
Low-vision aids may help improve vision. They may include:
There are no current guidelines to prevent nystagmus.
American Optometric Association
Eye Smart—American Academy of Ophthalmology
Canadian Ophthalmological Society
Bou Ghannam AS, Yassine S. Pediatric nystagmus. Int Ophthalmol Clin. 2018;58(4):23-65.
Eye facts about nystagmus. American Nystagmus Network website. Available at: http://www.nystagmus.org/aao.html. Accessed February 22, 2021.
General information about nystagmus. American Nystagmus Network website. Available at: http://www.nystagmus.org/aboutn.html. Accessed February 22, 2021.
Nystagmus - approach to the patient. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/nystagmus-approach-to-the-patient. Accessed February 22, 2021.
Nystagmus. Eye Smart—American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/nystagmus.cfm. Accessed February 22, 2021.
Last reviewed January 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mary Beth Seymour, RN Last Updated: 2/22/2021