Nystagmus is a medical condition that affects the eyes. This condition causes the eyes to become jittery, with unintentional and often uncontrollable shaking of the patient's vision. Since there are a number of causes, nystagmus treatment must be carefully tailored to the individual patient. Some potential forms of treatment include the use of eye wear such as glasses or contact lenses, surgery, and counseling.
While there are several conditions that can cause nystagmus, it is worth noting that in many instances the exact cause of this condition remains unknown. Patients with extreme cases of being either near-sighted or far-sighted may be at a higher risk of developing this condition. If scarring is present on the optic nerve or retina portion of the eye, nystagmus may also develop. In rare cases, brain tumors or certain neurological disorders can also lead to this vision problem. In cases where the direct cause cannot be isolated, genetic factors are sometimes suspected.
Nystagmus treatment generally begins with treating the original condition if it is known. An eye specialist will also perform tests to determine if the use of glasses or contacts may help to correct any visual disturbances. Often this is the only course of treatment necessary. However, it is important to keep all eye appointments so that any visual changes, however subtle, can be diagnosed as early as possible.
Some doctors have begun to use Botox as a form of nystagmus treatment. The Botox is injected into the muscles in the eye, paralyzing them. This method is sometimes effective in diminishing some of the troublesome symptoms. The down side to this method of treatment is that results are unpredictable, with some patients obtaining sufficient improvement, while others notice no difference at all. Another reason this procedure has not gained widespread popularity is the fact that it must be repeated every few weeks because the effects of the Botox injections are temporary by their very nature.
Surgery involving the muscles of the eye is a method of nystagmus treatment that is sometimes performed if other methods of treatment have been unsuccessful. The precise nature of the surgery will depend on the severity of the condition and is therefore very individualized. Since no method of nystagmus treatment is completely guaranteed to correct the condition, counseling is sometimes recommended to help the patient cope with the psychological effects of this condition.