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Nystagmus Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Nystagmus Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

March 23, 2023

What Is Nystagmus?

Nystagmus is uncontrollable eye movements that can begin in infancy or are acquired later in life. It can cause decreased or limited vision. Occasionally, although there is a discomfort that does not show any symptoms, some visual disturbances such as blurred vision may accompany this condition. The most accurate method to be sure of the presence of nystagmus or what type of Nystagmus you get is to get an eye examination. Sometimes, Nystagmus is called ‘’dancing eyes. 

There are three types of Nystagmus:

horizontal nystagmus

vertical nystagmus

congenital nystagmus (It is usually observed in infants in the first six months.)

What Causes Nystagmus? 

So what are the potential causes of having nystagmus? 

inner ear balance

head traumas

brain tumors

regular and excessive alcohol consumption

thiamine or B-12 deficiencies


other eye diseases 

Generally, the inner ear balance systems cause nystagmus.

What Are the Symptoms of Nystagmus? 

The symptoms of Nystagmus can be observed in one or both eyes. Let's analyze the most common symptoms of Nystagmus;

Unmanageble eye movements


Blurry vision

Some balance problems

Sensitivity to light

Most patients with nystagmus want to have an eye examination because they experience balance problems in addition to uncontrollable eye movements.

How to Diagnose Nystagmus

Our eyes are one of the most conspicuous organs in our body and it is easier to notice a problem in the eye than other diseases. So, if we have uncontrollable movements in our eyes and suspect Nystagmus, how can we diagnose it most accurately? The diagnosis of nystagmus is usually made by ophthalmologists. They will provide a general eye exam, while considering the presence of a different eye condition, and test your eye movements in certain ways. If the doctor can't find any reason for nystagmus, the physical examination will give you the best result. In addition, some blood tests may be required.

What Are the Treatments Options for Nystagmus?

The treatment of nystagmus varies depending on the type of nystagmus. It depends on if nystagmus is congenital or subsequent. Generally, there is no treatment for congenital nystagmus because nystagmus can only be eliminated by treating the other underlying eye disease. For example, if nystagmus occurred because of having thiamine or B-12 deficiencies, the treatment of the deficiency will be sufficient.

How to Live with Nystagmus

After the diagnosis of nystagmus made by specialist doctors, the patient may have difficulty accepting this situation. If you have congenital nystagmus and there are no other underlying eye diseases, you must learn how to live with nystagmus in your eyes. However, contrary to what is believed, it is not difficult to cope with nystagmus. People who have congenital nystagmus can use eyeglasses or contact lenses. The only important point here is that eyeglasses and contact lenses should be used with the advice of specialist ophthalmologists.


How common is nystagmus?
Nystagmus can be seen among one person in 1.000 people and mostly, this vision issue can be observed in kids. However, in a study conducted in England, it is estimated that there are 2.4 cases per 1,000 people. Additionally, nystagmus is significantly more common among white European populations than Asian (Indian, Pakistani, and other Asian) populations.
Can nystagmus lead to blindness?
Nystagmus is not a painful dangerous disease, but it may be a sign of an underlying dangerous disease. Nystagmus might lead to blurry or shaky vision but having only nystagmus doesn't lead to blindness. It does not primarily cause blindness, as it is caused by a different eye condition. If nystagmus is caused by cataract eye disease, then blindness may occur, because the cataract is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world. Cataract, which occurs in 25 million people each year, is considered to be the cause of about 50 percent of blindness.
Can stress and anxiety cause nystagmus?
The main cause of all diseases, from cancer to skin problems, is stress and anxiety. Sometimes it even causes disease on its own, and in some cases, it leads to the emergence and worsening of existing diseases. The same is true for nystagmus. Although stress and anxiety don't primarily cause nystagmus, it triggers the existing discomfort and causes it to be carried forward. Nystagmus is usually triggered by stress. Although the cause is not known exactly, stress and extreme fatigue can cause the existing nystagmus to worsen.