Uncontrolled eye movements, nistagmo: what is this, causes, symptoms, diagnostics, treatment, prevention

Nystagmus; Back and forth eye movements; Involuntary eye movements; Rapid eye movements from side to side; Uncontrolled eye movements; Eye movementsuncontrollable

Nystagmus is a term to describe rapid, uncontrolled eye movements, which can be:

  • From side to side (horizontal nystagmus)
  • Up and down (vertical nystagmus)
  • Rotary (rotational or torsion nystagmus)

Depending on the cause, these movements can be in both eyes or only in one eye..

Nystagmus can affect vision, balance and coordination.

The condition may be congenital, that is, a person is born with it, or acquired, that is, it develops at a later age.

Causes of nystagmus

Nystagmus can be caused by many factors, including:

  • Inner ear problems: nystagmus can be caused by problems with the inner ear, such as labyrinthitis or Meniere's disease.
  • Neurological conditions: nystagmus can be caused by neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, brain tumors or stroke.
  • Vision problems: nystagmus can be caused by eye problems, such as cataracts or strabismus.
  • Medicines: some medications can cause nystagmus as a side effect.

The symptom is nystagmus

Symptoms of nystagmus may include:

  • Involuntary eye movements: the most obvious symptom of nystagmus is involuntary eye movements. These movements can be horizontal, vertical or diagonal.
  • Blurred vision: nystagmus can cause blurred vision due to rapid eye movements.
  • Difficulties with depth perception: nystagmus can make it difficult to perceive depth, which can make it difficult to climb stairs or walk on uneven surfaces.
  • Headache: some people with nystagmus may experience headaches.

Diagnosis of nystagmus

Nystagmus is usually diagnosed by an ophthalmologist, who will conduct a thorough eye examination.

The doctor may also use special tests, such as electrooculogram (EOG) or videonystagmography (VNG), to measure eye movements and determine the type of nystagmus.

Treatment of nystagmus

Treatment for nystagmus will depend on the underlying cause of the condition..

If nystagmus is caused by an inner ear problem, treatment may include elimination of the underlying disease.

If nystagmus is caused by a neurological disease, treatment may involve addressing the underlying condition with medication or therapy.

If nystagmus is caused by vision problems, treatment may include glasses, contact lenses or surgery. If the nystagmus is caused by a drug, treatment may include switching to another drug.

home treatment for nystagmus

Although there is no specific home treatment for nystagmus, there are things, which you can do, to manage symptoms:

  • Use glasses or contact lenses: if you have nystagmus and need glasses or contact lenses, be sure to wear them as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Practice good eye hygiene. Maintaining good eye hygiene can help prevent eye infections and other problems..
  • Wear polarized sunglasses: polarized sunglasses can help reduce glare, which can make it easier to see.

Prevention of nystagmus

It is not always possible to prevent nystagmus, since this condition can be caused by many factors. However, there are things, which you can do, to reduce the risk of developing nystagmus:

  • Maintain Good General Health: healthy eating, regular exercise and stress management can help reduce the risk of nystagmus.
  • Avoid drugs, which can cause nystagmus: if you are taking medication, which can cause nystagmus as a side effect, talk to your doctor about switching to another medication.
  • Wear protective gear: if you play sports or engage in other activities, which can lead to head injury, wear protective gear

In conclusion, nystagmus is a condition, characterized by involuntary eye movements. This can be caused by various factors, including inner ear problems, neurological conditions, vision problems and medication. Symptoms of nystagmus may include involuntary eye movements, blurred vision, difficulty with depth perception and headaches. Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the condition and may include addressing the underlying condition, glasses, contact lenses, surgery or switching to another drug. Although there is no specific home treatment for nystagmus, there are things, which you can do, to manage symptoms. It is not always possible to prevent nystagmus, but there are steps, you can take, to reduce the risk of developing this condition.

Used sources and literature

Olitsky SE, Marsh JD. Disorders of eye movement and alignment. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Bloom NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 641.

Quiros PA, Chang MY. Nystagmus, saccadic intrusions, and oscillations. In: Yanoff M, Tablecloths JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 9.19.

Rucker JC, Lavin PJM. Neuro-ophthalmology: ocular motor system. In: Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, Newman NJ, eds. Bradley and Daroff’s Neurology in Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 18.

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