Nystagmus refers to an ophthalmological term describing the rhythmical movement of the eyes. The visual disorder manifests itself differently with the movement of the eye restricted within a certain range and normally does not become pathological. A good example is when you turn and look through the window of a car or house. It is estimated that about 10% of healthy people can voluntarily make such an eye movement; however, there are other forms of involuntary Nystagmus that have been impossible to treat and is referred to as abnormal Nystagmus.
Nystagmus can be traditionally placed into two categories namely:
- Acquired Nystagmus – Comes from neurological and visual problems and might appear in 6 months old children. Congenital eye problems are the known causes of congenital Nystagmus in children below 6 months of age and in some cases, the disorder is accompanied by Strabismus – a visual disorder that results in improper alignment of the eyes.
- Congenital Nystagmus – This type of condition is normally presented at birth, and although in most cases symptoms appear in the first three of four months, there are cases where the symptoms appear in later stages of life. Main causes include illness, external causes or accident.
Main causes of Nystagmus
Although there are many causes of Nystagmus, two causes have been documented as the most common.
- Children who have been diagnosed with Strabismus and other visual disorders during the first few months of their lives are more susceptible to Nystagmus. Although there is no proof as to why this happens, it is believed to be a result of occlusion of one eye. This type of Nystagmus is known as latent Nystagmus and causes no problem when both eyes stay open.
- The second cause of Nystagmus occurs during birth when there is a problem with both eyes. In some cases, the disorder appears later in life. This results in a Nystagmus disorder known as congenital Nystagmus, which requires specific tests and highly advanced equipments to distinguish it from other visual disorders.