New York Eye and Ear Infirmary
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Nystagmus
What is nystagmus?

Nystagmus is a condition where there is involuntary jerking movements of the eye which usually results in vision impairment. There are two types of nystagmus: infantile nystagmus and adult-onset acquired nystagmus.

What causes nystagmus?

Infantile nystagmus can be genetic or have no known cause. Acquired nystagmus can develop later in life as a result of an accident, neurological problems, or a range of illnesses.

How is nystagmus treated?

Glasses and contact lenses should be prescribed to correct any vision deficits. Amblyopia should be treated agressively in an attempt to improve vision and dampen the nystagmus. If the adult-onset acquired nystagmus is caused by a neurological problem often times it can be treated with certain drugs, however, it really depends on the cause of the nystagmus. Some research suggests that encouraging children with nystagmus, during the early years, to use their eyes while playing with games and toys can actually help improve vision and dampen the nystagmus.

Patients should consult with an ophthalmologist who can provide the appropriate level of care necessary. If you wish to inquire about pediatric ophthalmic services and orthoptics, please call (212) 979-4375 for a medical referral or to receive additional information.

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