Nystagmus Can Lead to Low Vision

See how an IALVS eye doctor can help!

Sometimes called “dancing eyes,” nystagmus is a condition that causes involuntary, uncontrollable eye movements that can vary between fast and slow. Usually, nystagmus occurs in both eyes. Individuals with this disorder will have reduced vision and trouble focusing and balancing. Sometimes, tilting or moving the head to see more clearly can help slow the eye movements.

If you have low vision caused by nystagmus, our IALVS eye doctors can help to optimize your eyesight with a variety of low vision aids and strategies.

What low vision aids can improve eyesight with nystagmus?

IALVS eye doctors are trained to fit an extensive range of optic and computerized low vision aids. We will meet with you to discuss your lifestyle needs and determine the most helpful, personalized solutions. Low vision devices may be able to help manage the symptoms of nystagmus.

  • Is it hard for you to write or do any tasks that require crisp near vision? A binocular telescope can help to sharpen your near vision and slow eye movements for many patients. Prescription glasses and contact lenses are also beneficial; our IALVS doctors are specially qualified to evaluate visual acuity with nystagmus in order to determine your precise vision prescription.
  • Does your computer screen look fuzzy? Many people with nystagmus are light sensitive. Often, making changes to your computer screen – such as adjusting the brightness, altering the font size, and adding filters to enhance visual contrast – can make a huge difference in vision quality.
  • Do you or your child with nystagmus get headaches and dizziness when reading and/or copying from a classroom board? Innovative technologies, such as the OrCam device, can help enhance accommodation (focusing) for adults and kids with nystagmus.

What causes nystagmus?

This vision condition can be present at birth or developed later on, as an adult. It can result from a range of causes, including:

  • Genetics
  • Other ocular problems, such as strabismus or cataracts
  • Head injury
  • Inner ear problems
  • Specific diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, or Meniere’s disease
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Albinism
  • Certain medicines, such as drugs for seizures

What are the symptoms of nystagmus?

The typical symptom of nystagmus is wobbly eyes that can move side to side, up and down, or in a circle. Also, objects may appear blurred. Children who develop this condition typically don’t see the world as if it’s shaking, but an adult who develops nystagmus may actually perceive that the world is moving a bit.

Nystagmus can lead to difficulty seeing in the dark, and it can increase your sensitivity to bright light. Some patients also feel dizzy, especially when stressed or tired.

What is the treatment for nystagmus?

Wearing the right eyeglasses or contact lenses to enhance your vision may improve the symptoms of nystagmus. Eyewear cannot cure nystagmus, but it can help with other vision problems that worsen the condition. Other options include eye muscle surgery, or certain drugs that can ease the symptoms in adults.

How is nystagmus diagnosed?

Your IALVS eye doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam, checking your inner eye structure and testing your vision. You also may need to spin in a chair for about half a minute, and then stop and try to stare at an object. If you have nystagmus, your eyes will move slowly in one direction and then reserve to move quickly the other way.

In addition, you may be sent for testing, such as an ear exam, brain MRI, brain CT scan, recording your eye movements, or a neurological exam.

Contact an IALVS eye doctor near you for low vision assistance

There are a number of tips to help you cope with this vision condition. Our IALVS eye doctors are truly knowledgeable about how to make your life easier by using low vision aids, such as magnifiers, specialized optic devices, and enhanced task lighting. Book a consultation to benefit from the latest personalized therapies for nystagmus.