This is a condition characterized by rapid and uncontrollable movement of the eyes. The eyes appear like they’re shaking.
If you ever see someone whose eyes move rapidly (side to side or up and down ), this condition is called Nystagmus.
What causes Nystagmus?
Nystagmus that originates from birth starts to manifest usually between 6 weeks to 3 months. It is believed to be inherited from the parents. Children with shaky eyes do not actually see objects as shaky, though they may appear blurry to them.
Nystagmus can also be acquired. This means that the person wasn’t born with it but due to some factors which may include some medical conditions, drug or alcohol use and medications such as lithium and anti-seizure drugs. These can make the eyes become shaky. People with acquired Nystagmus often report that objects around them look shaky.
What really happens in Nystagmus?
The brain controls your eye movement. When you move your head, your eyes move automatically to adjust. This stabilizes the image and helps you see clearly. In individuals with nystagmus, the areas of the brain that control eye movements don’t work properly.
Symptoms of Nystagmus
1. Uncontrolled and rapid eye movements.
3. Difficulty seeing in the dark
4. Vision problems
5. Frequent head tilts
6. Feeling that the environment is shaking
What treatment options are available?
Acquired nystagmus can sometimes be corrected once the underlying condition is resolved. For example, if nystagmus is caused by the use of certain medications, symptoms may go away once the medication is stopped.
People with congenital nystagmus however, cannot be cured completely but symptoms can be managed with proper treatment such as wearing spectacles or contact lenses to correct the possible refractive error present. Surgery can also be carried out to reposition the eye muscles. This tends to reduce the rate of the shaky eyes. In some cases of acquired nystagmus, the condition may just stop spontaneously.
When you notice your eyes are shaky, you should visit the eye clinic to get a comprehensive eye exam.
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