Involuntary Eye Rolling in Infants


Nystagmus is a condition that causes involuntary, rapid movement of one or both eyes. Nystagmus often accompanies vision issues, including blurriness.

This condition is often called “dancing eyes.”

Symptoms of nystagmus

The symptoms consist of fast, unmanageable eye movements. The direction of movement determines the type of nystagmus:

  • Horizontal nystagmus involves side-to-side eye movements.
  • Vertical nystagmus includes up-and-down eye movements.
  • Rotary, or torsional, nystagmus involves circular motions.

These motions may happen in one or both eyes depending upon the cause.

Types of nystagmus

Nystagmus takes place when the part of the brain or inner ear that manages eye motion and positioning doesn’t operate properly. The labyrinth is the outer wall of the inner ear that assists you notice motion and position. It likewise helps control eye movements. The condition can be either genetic or gotten.

Infantile nystagmus syndrome

Hereditary nystagmus is called infantile nystagmus syndrome (INS). It may be an acquired hereditary condition. INS typically appears within the first six weeks to three months of a child’s life. This type of nystagmus is normally mild and isn’t really generally brought on by an underlying health problem. In unusual cases, a congenital eye disease might cause INS.

The majority of people with INS will not need treatment and don’t have complications later in life. In fact, lots of people with INS do not even see their eye movements. Nevertheless, vision challenges are common. Vision issues can vary from mild to severe, and lots of people require restorative lenses or choose to have restorative surgery.

Acquired nystagmus

Acquired, or acute, nystagmus can develop at any stage of life. It frequently takes place due to injury or disease. Obtained nystagmus normally happens due to occasions that impact the labyrinth in the inner ear.

Possible causes of gotten nystagmus

Possible causes of gotten nystagmus include:

  • stroke
  • particular medications, including sedatives and antiseizure medications like phenytoin (Dilantin).
  • extreme alcohol intake.
  • head injury or injury.
  • disease of the eye.
  • diseases of the inner ear.
  • B-12 or thiamine shortages.
  • brain tumors.
  • illness of the central anxious system, including numerous sclerosis.

When to seek treatment for nystagmus.

See your doctor if you begin to observe the symptoms of nystagmus. Obtained nystagmus always happens due to a hidden health condition. You’ll wish to determine what that condition is and how best to treat it.

Diagnosing nystagmus.

If you have hereditary nystagmus, you’ll have to see an eye doctor called an ophthalmologist if the condition gets worse or if you’re concerned about your vision.

Your ophthalmologist can detect nystagmus by performing an eye examination. They’ll ask you about your case history to figure out if any underlying health problems, medications or ecological conditions may be contributing to your vision problems. They might likewise:

  • determine your vision to identify the kind of vision problems you have.
  • perform a refraction test to figure out the proper lens power you’ll have to make up for your vision problems.
  • test how your eyes focus, move, and function together to search for problems that affect control of your eye motions or make it difficult to use both eyes together.

If your eye doctor detects you with nystagmus, they might advise that you see your primary care physician to attend to any hidden health conditions. They might likewise provide you some ideas for what to do at home to assist you handle nystagmus.

Your primary care physician can assist identify what’s causing your nystagmus. They’ll first ask them about your case history and then carry out a physical examination.

If your doctor can not figure out the cause of your nystagmus after taking your history and carrying out a physical exam, they’ll run various tests. Blood tests can assist your doctor rule out any vitamin shortages. Imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs can assist your doctor figure out if any structural problems in your brain or head are triggering your nystagmus.

Treating nystagmus.

Treatment for nystagmus depends on whether the condition is hereditary or gotten. Genetic nystagmus doesn’t require treatment, although the following might assist enhance your vision:

  • eyeglasses.
  • contact lenses.
  • increased lighting around your home.
  • magnifying devices.

Sometimes, congenital nystagmus minimizes over the course of youth without treatment. If your child has an extremely severe case, their doctor may recommend a surgery called a “tenotomy” to change the position of the muscles that control eye movement. Such surgery can not cure nystagmus, but it can lower the degree to which your child needs to turn their visit enhance their vision.

If you have acquired nystagmus, treatment will focus on the underlying cause. Some typical treatments for acquired nystagmus consist of:

  • changing medications.
  • remedying vitamin deficiencies with supplements and dietary adjustments.
  • brain surgery for central worried system conditions or brain illness.
  • medicated eye drops for eye infections.
  • antibiotics for infections of the inner ear.
  • botulinum contaminant to treat severe disruptions in vision caused by eye motion.
  • unique glasses lenses called prisms.

Outlook for people who have nystagmus.

Nystagmus may improve with time with or without treatment. However, nystagmus normally never goes away totally.

The symptoms of nystagmus can make daily tasks more challenging. For instance, those with severe nystagmus may not be able to get a driver’s license, which can limit their mobility and need them to make transportation plans on a regular basis.

Sharp eyesight is also vital if you’re managing or operating potentially unsafe devices or equipment requiring accuracy. Nystagmus can restrict the types of occupations and hobbies you have.

Another challenge of severe nystagmus is discovering caretaker help. If you have very poor vision, you may require aid performing daily activities. If you require support, it’s important to ask for it. Minimal eyesight may increase your possibilities of injury. The American Nystagmus Network has a list of valuable resources. You need to likewise ask your doctor about the resources they advise.


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