At what ages does congenital nystagmus commonly present?

Updated: Oct 08, 2019
  • Author: Mark Ventocilla, OD, FAAO; Chief Editor: Edsel Ing, MD, MPH, FRCSC  more...
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Most patients with infantile nystagmus present within the first several months of life.

Nystagmus present at birth or prior to age 2 months is more likely to be idiopathic in nature or due to neurologic dysfunction. Sensory deficit nystagmus most commonly presents at age 2-3 months. Further investigation of the visual system is warranted in these cases. Nystagmus associated with albinism has characteristics similar to idiopathic nystagmus but usually is absent until after age 2 months.

Nystagmus that presents after age 6 months is considered late infantile or childhood nystagmus and carries a graver prognosis. The exception is spasmus nutans, with onset in children aged 4 months to 3 years. Resolution of this condition usually occurs within a year of onset. Chiasmal glioma can present in an identical manner to spasmus nutans.

Latent or manifest latent nystagmus often is discovered after the first few months of life, but it most often is associated with infantile strabismus and can be identified by its unique characteristics.

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