Nystagmus 101: Cause, Symptoms and Treatment Hero

Nystagmus 101: Cause, Symptoms and Treatment

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Nystagmus, more commonly known as “dancing eyes,” is a vision disorder that causes your eyes to move uncontrollably at a fast pace. This condition may compromise your eyesight and can also affect your coordination.

Nystagmus 101: Cause, Symptoms and Treatment

Today, Park Slope Eye, your leading provider of vision therapy and other eye care services, discusses nystagmus in detail.

What Causes It?

Nystagmus may develop when the part of the brain that controls eye movement is not working properly. While it’s not clear how this happens, heredity may play a role. The condition may also develop as a complication of other pre-existing eye problems, such as strabismus or cataracts. Studies show that individuals with albinism, multiple sclerosis or other eye problems are at a higher risk of acquiring nystagmus. In addition, this problem is linked to head injuries, brain tumors and strokes.

How Does It Affect Your Vision?

Your eye doctor shares that the hallmark symptom of nystagmus is involuntary, continuous and rapid eye movement. It can be side to side (horizontal nystagmus), up and down (vertical nystagmus) or circular (rotary nystagmus). Affected individuals usually tilt their heads to the side as a compensatory mechanism. Apart from the quick eye movements, you may also experience increased light sensitivity, frequent dizziness and loss of balance.

How Is It Managed?

For nystagmus that develops in old age, we may suggest performing a procedure to correct the cause. If it happened as a complication of a tumor, for example, removing the growth through an operation may help. Surgically repositioning your eye muscles may be an effective remedy as well.

While there is not currently a cure for congenital nystagmus, we can still offer treatment to help control your symptoms. Wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses may help, as having clear vision can help slow the eye movements. Studies have also shown that a small dose of botulinum toxin may reduce the shakiness of your eyes.

For more information on nystagmus, fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve Brooklyn and nearby NY communities.


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  • Written by Justin Bazan

    Dr. Justin Bazan is a 2004 SUNY College of Optometry graduate. He established Park Slope Eye in 2008 with the goal of providing high quality eyecare and incredible eyewear for the neighborhood. He has a true passion for optometry and stay up to date with the current research and trends. He is active in the profession and holds several leadership positions on the local, state and national levels. Dr. Bazan is a Park Slope local and can often be seen out in the neighborhood so be sure to say Hi next time you see him!

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