Last updated on July 3rd, 2017 at 10:01 am

Nystagmus most frequently causes the eyes to look involuntarily from side to side in a fast, swinging motion rather than remaining repaired on a things or individual. Some nystagmuses, nevertheless, cause the eyes to jerk sideways or up and down.

Understanding Nystagmus

Aside from being a condition I see professionally, nystagmus also affects a really close friend of mine. So I can discuss this eye problem from several points of view.

Nystagmus is usually infantile, implying individuals have it from a very early age. Experts state that about one child out of every numerous thousand has nystagmus. Various sort of nystagmus consist of:

  • Manifest nystagmus
  • Congenital nystagmus
  • Manifest-latent nystagmus
  • Acquired nystagmus
  • Hidden nystagmus

Genetic nystagmus exists at birth. With this condition, your eyes move together as they oscillate (swing like a pendulum). The majority of other types of infantile nystagmus are also classified as types of strabismus, which implies the eyes don’t necessarily collaborate at all times.

Manifest nystagmus is present at all times, whereas latent nystagmus happens when one eye is covered.

Manifest-latent nystagmus is constantly present, however intensifies when one eye is covered.

Obtained nystagmus can be brought on by a disease (numerous sclerosis, brain tumor, diabetic neuropathy), a mishap (head injury), or a neurological issue (side effect of a medication). Hyperventilation, a flashing light in front of one eye, nicotine and even vibrations have actually been understood to cause nystagmus in uncommon cases.

Some obtained nystagmuses can be treated with medications or surgical treatments.


Nystagmus is a condition of involuntary (or voluntary, in rare cases) eye motion, acquired in infancy or later in life, that might lead to reduced or limited vision. Due to the involuntary motion of the eye, it is frequently called “dancing eyes”.

What Causes Nystagmus?

Nystagmus is most commonly brought on by a neurological problem that is present at birth or develops in early childhood. Acquired nystagmus, which takes place later on in life, can be the symptom of another condition or disease, such as stroke, numerous sclerosis or injury.

Other causes of nystagmus include:

  • Absence of development of normal eye movement control early in life
  • Albinism
  • Really high refractive mistake, for instance, nearsightedness (myopia) or astigmatism
  • Hereditary cataracts
  • Inflammation of the inner ear
  • Medications such as anti-epilepsy drugs
  • Central nerve system diseases

Nystagmus Symptoms

As pointed out above, most people with nystagmus are born with the condition or develop it early in life. Unless caused by trauma or disease, nystagmus usually is caused by neurological problems.

The two standard types of nystagmus are:

  • Optokinetic (eye related).
  • Vestibular (inner ear related).

Individuals with inner ear issues can establish something called “jerk nystagmus” – the eyes drift gradually in one direction and after that jerk back in the other direction. Since of the motion of the eyes, people with this condition can establish nausea and vertigo. This kind of nystagmus, normally temporary, likewise can happen in individuals with Meniere’s disease (inner ear condition) or when water settles into one ear. Taking a decongestant sometimes can clean up this type of nystagmus.

All forms of nystagmus are involuntary, suggesting people with the condition can not manage their eyes. Nystagmus enhances a little as an individual reaches adulthood; however, it worsens with exhaustion and stress.

Having nystagmus impacts both vision and self-concept. Most people with nystagmus have some sort of vision constraints because the eyes continually sweep over what they are viewing, making it impossible to acquire a clear image.

Some individuals with nystagmus have a lot of vision problems that they can be thought about legally blind.

If you have nystagmus, not just is your appearance impacted, but you literally see in a manner that is different from people who don’t have the condition. Your eyes remain in constant motion.

To see much better, you might need to turn your head and lock your eyes into what’s called the “null point.” This is a particular head angle that makes the eyes move the least, supporting the image for better vision.

When you have nystagmus, you should handle the individual and social repercussions of this difference.

Nystagmus can affect nearly every element of your life, consisting of how you associate with other individuals, your academic and work chances and your self-image.

Therapy might be handy as you deal with the social and individual challenges frequently connected with nystagmus.

Can Nystagmus Be Treated?

Several medical and surgical treatments that in some cases assist individuals with nystagmus are available. Surgery generally minimizes the null positions, lessening head tilt and enhancing cosmetic appearance.

Drugs such as Botox or Baclofen can lower some nystagmic motions, although outcomes are usually temporary. Some individuals with nystagmus gain from biofeedback training.

If you have nystagmus, make certain you go through regular eye tests so you can be monitored for both health and vision problems.

Both glasses and contact lenses can help people with nystagmus see much better, but I have actually discovered contact lenses to be the exceptional alternative for many with nystagmus. With glasses, the eyes sweep backward and forward over the lens centers and vision is not as clear. With contacts, nevertheless, the lens focuses move with the eyes.

My buddy who has nystagmus definitely sees better with his contacts, even the bifocal contact lenses he now requires!

Alik Muradov (Eyexan Team Member) / author of the article
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