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Unveiling the World of Infantile Nystagmus: Types Symptoms and Treatment

Infantile Nystagmus: Understanding the Types and SymptomsImagine a world where everything you see is constantly moving, even when you try to focus your gaze. This is the reality for individuals with infantile nystagmus, a condition characterized by involuntary eye movements.

In this article, we will explore the different types of infantile nystagmus and delve into the symptoms associated with this condition. By the end, you will have a better understanding of what infantile nystagmus is and how it affects those who have it.

Infantile Nystagmus Types

Infantile nystagmus is a condition that typically emerges during infancy or early childhood, hence its name. It affects the way the eyes move, causing them to oscillate or shake involuntarily.

Within the realm of infantile nystagmus, there are different types that vary in terms of underlying causes and patterns of eye movements.

Infantile Nystagmus Types

The first subtopic we will explore is the different types of infantile nystagmus. One type is called congenital sensory nystagmus, which is characterized by eye movements that occur due to vision problems.

The second type is known as congenital motor nystagmus, where the eye movements are based on neurological factors. Congenital sensory nystagmus can be caused by various visual impairments such as albinism or aniridia.

These conditions affect the development of the eye and its ability to process visual information. On the other hand, congenital motor nystagmus is typically associated with abnormalities in the brain’s control over eye movements.

Conditions like ocular albinism or spasmus nutans can lead to this type of nystagmus.

Symptoms of Infantile Nystagmus

Now that we understand the different types of infantile nystagmus, let’s explore the symptoms associated with this condition. One common symptom is oscillation or shaking of the eyes, which can vary in intensity and speed.

Individuals with infantile nystagmus may also experience reduced visual acuity or poor depth perception. This is due to the constant eye movements hindering their ability to focus on specific objects.

Another symptom of infantile nystagmus is the head tilt or turn. To compensate for the involuntary eye movements, individuals may naturally tilt or turn their heads in order to find a position where their vision is more stable.

Additionally, some people with infantile nystagmus may exhibit an abnormal head posture, where they hold their head in a specific position to minimize the impact of the eye movements.

Congenital Sensory and Motor Nystagmus Causes

Now that we have explored the different types and symptoms of infantile nystagmus, let’s dive into the underlying causes for each type. Understanding the causes is crucial in determining appropriate management strategies for individuals with infantile nystagmus.

Congenital Sensory Nystagmus Causes

Congenital sensory nystagmus is primarily caused by visual impairments that affect the development and functioning of the eyes. Albinism, for example, is a condition characterized by the lack of pigment in the eyes, skin, and hair.

This lack of pigment can result in abnormal development of the retina, leading to sensory nystagmus.

Congenital Motor Nystagmus Causes

Unlike congenital sensory nystagmus, which is caused by visual impairments, congenital motor nystagmus is typically related to neurological factors. One possible cause is an abnormality in the control center of eye movements, located in the brainstem.

This abnormality disrupts the brain’s ability to accurately coordinate eye movements, resulting in motor nystagmus. In conclusion, infantile nystagmus is a condition that affects the eye’s movements, leading to involuntary shaking or oscillation.

It can be categorized into different types, including congenital sensory and motor nystagmus, each with its own set of underlying causes. The symptoms associated with infantile nystagmus may include eye oscillation, reduced visual acuity, and abnormal head posture.

By understanding the types, symptoms, and causes of infantile nystagmus, we can work towards better management strategies that improve the lives of those who have this condition. Acquired Infantile Nystagmus: Causes and Diagnosis

Acquired Infantile Nystagmus Causes

While most cases of infantile nystagmus are present from birth or early childhood, there are instances where nystagmus can develop later in life. This form is known as acquired infantile nystagmus and has its own set of causes that differ from the congenital types.

Acquired Infantile Nystagmus Causes

Acquired infantile nystagmus can occur due to a variety of factors. One common cause is a head injury or trauma that affects the brain’s control over eye movements.

In some cases, infections such as meningitis or encephalitis can also lead to acquired nystagmus. Additionally, certain medications or toxins, such as alcohol or specific drugs, might induce nystagmus symptoms.

Another potential cause of acquired infantile nystagmus is a disruption in the balance of chemicals in the brain, impacting its ability to coordinate eye movements accurately. Conditions like multiple sclerosis or brain tumors can disturb these chemical balances, resulting in the development of nystagmus.

Diagnosis of Infantile Nystagmus

Diagnosing infantile nystagmus requires a comprehensive evaluation by an ophthalmologist or a neurologist. The diagnostic process typically involves a thorough examination of the patient’s medical history and a detailed assessment of their eye movements.

During the examination, the doctor will observe the involuntary eye movements and assess their characteristics, such as speed, direction, and intensity. They may also check for accompanying symptoms like reduced visual acuity or head posture abnormalities.

The doctor may conduct additional tests, such as an eye movement recording or an electroretinogram, to gather more information about the nystagmus. In some cases, genetic testing may be recommended to identify potential underlying genetic causes of infantile nystagmus.

Since certain types of nystagmus are inherited, genetic testing can provide valuable insights into the specific genetic mutations or variations that may contribute to the condition.

Treatment for Infantile Nystagmus

While there is no cure for infantile nystagmus, various treatment options are available to manage the symptoms and improve quality of life for individuals with this condition. The choice of treatment depends on the type and severity of nystagmus and may involve a combination of approaches.

Treatment for Infantile Nystagmus

One common approach to managing infantile nystagmus is the use of visual aids. Glasses or contact lenses can help correct underlying visual impairments and may help reduce the intensity of nystagmus.

Additionally, the use of low-vision devices such as magnifiers or telescopes can enhance visual acuity and improve daily functioning. Another treatment option is the use of medication.

Some medications, such as gabapentin or baclofen, have shown potential in controlling the intensity and frequency of nystagmus. However, it is important to note that not all cases of infantile nystagmus respond to medication, and the benefits may vary from person to person.


Treatment for Infantile Nystagmus

In more severe cases of infantile nystagmus, surgical intervention may be considered. Surgical treatment aims to alter the position of the eye muscles, thereby reducing the intensity of eye movements and improving visual stability.

One surgical approach is called the tenotomy and reattachment procedure. During this procedure, a surgeon detaches and reattaches specific eye muscles to modify the forces responsible for the eye movements associated with nystagmus.

The success of this surgery varies depending on the individual and the underlying cause of the nystagmus.


In conclusion, acquired infantile nystagmus can develop later in life due to various factors, including head injuries, chemical imbalances, infections, and medications. Diagnosing infantile nystagmus entails a comprehensive evaluation by medical professionals, who assess the eye movements and may conduct additional tests.

Treatment options for infantile nystagmus range from visual aids and medications to surgical procedures. While there is no cure for this condition, proper management can alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life for those affected by infantile nystagmus.

In summary, infantile nystagmus is a condition characterized by involuntary eye movements that often emerge during infancy or early childhood. It can be classified into different types, such as congenital sensory and motor nystagmus, each with its own underlying causes.

Symptoms may include eye shaking, reduced visual acuity, and abnormal head postures. Acquired infantile nystagmus can develop later in life due to factors such as head injuries or chemical imbalances.

Proper diagnosis by medical professionals is essential to determine the type and severity of nystagmus. While there is no cure, various treatment options, including visual aids, medication, and surgery, can help manage the condition and improve quality of life.

Understanding infantile nystagmus and its management options are crucial in providing appropriate support and care for individuals affected by this condition.

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