What is nystagmus?
Nystagmus is a rapid, continuous, uncontrolled movement of the eyes, like a ‘wobble’ in the eyes. The movement itself can vary in speed, direction and pattern. Most people with nystagmus also have reduced vision, even with the help of glasses.
What causes nystagmus?
Nystagmus is caused by under-development or damage to: the eye, the connections between the eye and the brain, or the brain itself. Congenital nystagmus is when the nystagmus appears within the first few months of life, and acquired nystagmus develops later in life. Examples of causes of a congenital nystagmus are if a child is born with glaucoma or albinism. Acquired nystagmus can be caused by, for example, an injury to the head or a brain tumour. In many cases, the reason for the under-development or damage remains unknown.
What is the treatment for nystagmus?
There is no treatment for nystagmus, but there are management options that help get the best vision. Glasses or contact lenses must be worn if required – they don’t fix a nystagmus but having the best vision possible reduces the amount of unwanted movement of the eyes. Surgery can be performed or eye-drops used in appropriate circumstances.
What is the null point?
Some people with nystagmus have a unique head posture. The reason for this is that they are able to minimise the unwanted movement of the eyes by looking at things from a certain angle. The null point is the position the eyes need to be in (in relation to the head) to get the least movement from nystagmus.
It is best to start using magnifiers and technology at an early stage to help coping with nystagmus-related reduced vision.
Useful link: visit Nystagmus Network for more information.