Nystagmus is an involuntary rhythmical movement of the eyes. The cause of nystagmus is a disruption in the afferent, central or efferent parts of the eye movement system. If it happens in the first few months of life during the sensitive period of visual development, it is most often a case of infantile nystagmus. On the other hand, the majority of nystagmus in adult age is caused by some neurological disorder, and it is usually called acquired nystagmus. The important role of an ophthalmologist is to recognize the origin of nystagmus. Acquired forms are usually caused by some neurological disorders and do not belong in our field of treatment. However, most of the nystagmus types in a child’s age require ophthalmological treatment. When we have a child with nystagmus, we have to enable the development of the visual system and help fixation and fovealization by the dampening of nystagmus. If the reason of nystagmus is of ocular origin, we have to treat the underlying disease. Optical treatment by glasses, contact lenses or magnifying devices is usually reasonable. In some cases when the patient has abnormal head posture, it is possible to treat nystagmus by surgery. Some medications are used in several types of nystagmus as well as some new developing treatments.
Part of the book: Eye Motility