Nystagmus is a condition that is characterized by uncontrolled movements of the eyeballs. It could be congenital or acquired. The following article provides information on the causes of this condition.
The term ‘nystagmus’ refers to involuntary or uncontrolled movements of the eyeballs. It can also be defined as a periodic or rhythmic ocular oscillation of the eyes. These uncontrolled movements can occur from side to side (horizontal) or even in circular manner. In some cases, the movements may also take place in an up-and-down fashion (vertical). It might be congenital (present at birth) or acquired (develop later in life). It may affect one eye or both the eyes.
Congenital nystagmus might be associated with disorders like cataract, glaucoma, and albinism. Disorders of the retina, or disabilities such as Down’s syndrome could cause this condition in early childhood. However, in most cases, the affected children do not suffer from any disorders related to their eye, brain, or any other parts of their body. This condition could even be idiopathic, which means that the condition arises from an unknown cause.
Acquired nystagmus might be related to certain medical disorders such as multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, labyrinthitis (inflammation of the inner ear), or Meniere’s disease (an inner ear disease characterized by episodes of dizziness and tinnitus and progressive hearing loss). Other causes of this condition include stroke, head injury, alcohol abuse, or prolonged use of certain drugs.
There is no cure for this condition, but the symptoms can be managed to some extent. Affected individuals may also be diagnosed with myopia (short-sighted or nearsightedness) or hypermetropia (long-sighted or farsightedness). So, although glasses and contact lenses may not be so helpful in treating this condition, they certainly help in correcting other vision problems. In rare cases, people also go for surgery where the position of the muscles that control the eyes is altered. Biofeedback might also be used to help the patients control their eye movements.
Although this eye condition cannot be cured, its symptoms can be managed or reduced. Games, which are designed for hand-to-eye coordination, provide a great deal of benefits to affected children. Playing games that involve following a moving object like train sets, marbles, etc., might also prove beneficial.
Nystagmus is a painless medical disorder, and is associated with progressive loss of vision. The parents, family members, friends, and teachers trained in visual impairment can work together to improve the quality of life of an affected child.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.