What is it?

Nystagmus is a vision condition that causes the eyes to make fast, involuntary movements. This condition can occur in one or both of the eyes. The movements can occur in one of three ways:

  1. Horizontal Nystagmus (side to side)
  2. Vertical Nystagmus (up and down)
  3. Rotary Nystagmus (in a round movement)

People with this condition are typically unaware of the movements, which often appear in early childhood. Nystagmus may present itself later in life as well, usually as a result of an issue with the central nervous system.

How does it happen?

Usually, the condition is present at birth, though symptoms may not appear right away. If movements are larger, you may have less than 20/20 vision. In most cases, it does not affect you too greatly.

Certain drugs or medications (such as anti-seizure medication or excessive alcohol) can lead to an acquired case of nystagmus. Other causes of the condition may include a head injury, a stroke, an inner ear disorder, or a stroke.

What are the symptoms?

Besides the jerking movements, symptoms may also include dizziness, visual problems, or nervous system disorders.

In many cases, though, there are no other symptoms, and you may not even be aware of the movements.

What are my risk factors?

Nystagmus is usually the result of a neurological problem, onset at birth. If you have experienced head trauma or develop a neurological disorder, you may be at risk of acquiring nystagmus.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Testing for nystagmus is often more complicated than other eye conditions. Because of its relation to the central nervous system, you may be subject to different tests. These may include a CT scan of your head or Electro-oculography (a method of measuring eye movements).

There are currently no treatment options for congenital nystagmus (present at birth). Treatment options may be available for acquired nystagmus (caused later by another condition/disease), but the symptoms may go away when the disease does.

How can I prevent it from happening?

You can lessen your chances of developing the condition later in life by limiting alcohol consumption and eliminating drug use.

If you are experiencing similar symptoms to nystagmus, contact us today.

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