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What is Nystagmus?

Nystagmus is an uncontrolled and involuntary movement of the eyes. The movement is often from left to right (horizontal) but it can also be from top to bottom (vertical) or circular (rotational). The movement can vary between slow and fast and almost always involves both eyes. People with Nystagmus do not always realize that they have this condition, because they do not necessarily experience images as shaky. The exact cause is not known, but must be sought in the eye control system within the brain. This can result in reduced vision. It affects about one in two thousand people.

There are two main types:

The realization that vision has been affected can be difficult to accept. Knowing that one is not alone may provide support. There are many people in the same situation, some who have just been diagnosed themselves and some who have been living with it for years.

If one experiences visual impairment as a result, there are devices available to help with tasks that one has difficulty with. These aids can provide support with tasks that require vision and can help you continue to lead a full and independent life.

Picture view without and with Nystagmus
Left: normal vision. Right: view with Nystagmus

What are the Symptoms of Nystagmus?

The most common symptom is involuntary movement of the eyes. Other symptoms may include:

What can one expect from Nystagmus?

Nystagmus is almost always a permanent condition. The degree of the condition can be improved by various treatments. Improving vision through lenses and/or glasses is an important part of treatment. Other possible treatments include surgery or medications. Surgery can correct abnormal head positions or reduce the severity of the condition. Medication can also be used to reduce it, but its use is often limited due to the many side effects these medications have. Discuss the best options with your doctor or specialist.

Learn more about Nystagmus

Extensive information is available. This information is intended to inform you about the most important aspects of this eye condition and is not intended to replace the information one receives from the doctor or eye specialist.