What is congenital nystagmus?

Updated: Oct 08, 2019
  • Author: Mark Ventocilla, OD, FAAO; Chief Editor: Edsel Ing, MD, MPH, FRCSC  more...
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Congenital nystagmus, (more correctly termed infantile nystagmus) is a clinical sign that may take many different forms. Involuntary, rhythmic eye movements are characteristic, as they are in acquired nystagmus. Waveform, amplitude, and frequency can vary with changes in focal distance, direction of gaze, and under monocular or binocular viewing conditions.

Oscillations are usually horizontal in direction but may be primarily vertical, torsional, or any combination of these three. Infantile nystagmus often is associated with other ocular conditions (eg, bilateral congenital cataracts) that impair visual acuity and occasionally can herald life-threatening conditions. [1] Some other associated conditions include achromatopsia, Leber congenital amaurosis, anorexia, and ocular albinism.

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