What is nystagmus?

If the visual pathways, or parts of the brain that process visual information and control eye movements or gaze, do not develop properly or are damaged in later life, then eye movements can become poorly controlled. This can lead to nystagmus which is a continuous uncontrolled to and fro movement of the eyes. The movements may be in any direction. This means that the eyes will look like they are moving from side to side or up and down or even in circles. Most people with nystagmus have reduced vision.

Nystagmus may be inherited or can occur as a result of eye conditions such as childhood cataracts, albinism, optic nerve atrophy, coloboma, etc. In some cases a cause of the nystagmus can’t be found and it’s called idiopathic nystagmus.

It can also develop in later life sometimes as a result of an accident or an illness (for example, multiple sclerosis or stroke), when it is called acquired nystagmus.

Further information and support can also be found on the Nystagmus Network website.

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