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Nystagmus

What is nystagmus?
Nystagmus is when the eyes move together without the person wanting them to move.  They move back and forth.  They usually move quickly, but sometimes they move slowly.  There is usually one place where the eyes stop moving.  It is called the “null point.”

What causes nystagmus?
There are three causes of nystagmus. 

The first one is having another eye problem.  People who were born with another eye problem sometimes have nystagmus, too.

The second one is nystagmus without another eye problem.  Sometimes people are just born with nystagmus.

The third thing that may cause nystagmus is a problem in the brain.  The brain may have a part that does not work.  It does not keep the eyes still when the person wants to look at something that is still.

What kind of vision do people have who have nystagmus?
People who have nystagmus say that they do not notice that their eyes are moving back and forth.  Their brains do not pay attention to the eyes moving.  The moving eyes just make things look blurry.  Things look more blurry far away.  Sometimes people who have nystagmus tilt their heads to look at something up close.  They find a place where the eyes move less or stop moving.  They look at things up close from that still place, the null point.

What will help you if you have nystagmus?
1.  Let people know what you can see even though your eyes are moving.
2.  Sometimes glasses help people who have nystagmus.  Ask your doctor if glasses will help you.
3.  Let people know if tilting your head helps you see.
4.  Use a ruler or a piece of paper to underline what you read.  It may help you follow the line better.
5.  If you have another eye problem, read about it on this website.


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