Nystagmus is an involuntary movement of the eyeball, usually from side to side. It is most common as a congenital disorder but can be acquired.
As a rule, infantile nystagmus syndrome occurs within the first six months of life. Although it can stem from an eye abnormality, it is known also to arise from a subtle imbalance of the eye movement mechanism within the brain. Ocular anomalies, which may cause nystagmus, are congenital cataracts, ocular albinism, retinal dystrophies and optic nerve abnormalities. To eliminate a neurologic cause of the disorder, it is important that children with infantile nystagmus syndrome receive a prompt evaluation and diagnosis by a pediatric ophthalmologist.
Eye muscle surgery is very effective in treating this condition in both children and adult patients. Patients with abnormal head postures resulting from the disorder will benefit as surgery can centre the gaze, thereby eliminating the constant abnormal head posture. But even those not suffering from the abnormal head posture will benefit from a surgical procedure known as horizontal rectus tenotomy that will substantially decrease the nystagmus. It is important to discuss these procedures with a pediatric ophthalmologist after the disorder has been accurately diagnosed.
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