On this page

What is it? 

Rapid, involuntary eye movements that cause the eyes to flicker. The flickering of the eyes can be in any direction, and can be large, small, fast or slow. Abnormal function in areas of the brain that control eye movement causes nystagmus. People with nystagmus do not see their vision shaking in constant movement. Nystagmus can be present at birth or develop later in life.

Simulation image of how Nystagmus affects vision. Scene is out of focus
Simulation image of how Nystagmus affects vision. Scene is out of focus

  • Blurred vision because the eyes are in a constant state of movement. 
  • Problems with posture. Some people find relief from nystagmus by keeping their head in a certain position. While this can aid vision, it can lead to neck and shoulder issues that may need treatment.

If you experience any vision issues, see an optometrist, an ophthalmologist or your GP as soon as you can. Early diagnosis can help  management of the condition, or surgery may be an option.

There's no cure for nystagmus, but there are options to manage the condition: 

  • Null point training. This is where an eye care specialist can work with you to train your eyes to where the vision is the clearest. They can also provide support for children diagnosed with nystagmus. A Vision Australia orthoptist can help with this training. 
  • Magnifiers. A magnifier will enlarge print and make it easier to read. 
  • Postural training. Some compensatory head positions can help reduce the nystagmus and support vision. In some instances, this can cause neck issues and nystagmus surgery may be required. Speak to your eye specialist for more information.
  • Special glasses. Glasses with prisms can help reduce the nystagmus and aid vision. 

How it can affect your life

You may have difficulty with things like reading, writing, driving and mobility. Abnormal head positions may also lead to a problem with your posture. 

Being diagnosed with an eye condition doesn’t mean you need to stop living life on your terms. That’s where Vision Australia can help. 

We’ll work with you, providing support and products to help you take the next steps with confidence. 

Download a guide

Nystagmus guide

Fact sheet summary to print or download. 

Real stories