International Nystagmus Awareness Day 2020: Important date, History, Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

International Nystagmus Awareness Day 2020: International Nystagmus Awareness Day is observed on June 20 every year to create awareness about the condition of nystagmus and to support the people who are suffering from it. Get the information about nystagmus, causes of nystagmus, symptoms, and treatments of nystagmus from this article.

Sheena | Updated Jun 20, 2020 14:53 PM

International Nystagmus Awareness Day 2020: Important date, History, Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

International Nystagmus Awareness Day 2020

International Nystagmus Awareness Day is celebrated on June 20. Nystagmus is a visual impairment that can occur at any time of life. About 1 in 1000 babies are born with nystagmus but it also affects adults. 
Nystagmus sufferers face several problems. The condition can cause severe vision problems, which can make them legally blind. Since their eye movement is different from others, they face self-image and social issues. 
This day aims to reduce the issues faced by nystagmus people and to support them.

What is the history of International Nystagmus Awareness Day?

International Nystagmus Awareness Day was sponsored by Nystagmus Network. Nystagmus Network is a UK based charity network. The main objective of Nystagmus Network is providing information and support to nystagmus people and their families, raising awareness and understanding of nystagmus to the people, promote and fund research into the treatments of nystagmus to improve the life of nystagmus people.

What is Nystagmus?

Nystagmus is characterized by the involuntary, rapid movement of one or both eyes. It causes sight impairment to vary degrees. It is also called “dancing eyes”.

The two basic types of nystagmus are

  1. Jerk nystagmus - As the name implies, the eyes rapidly jerk in one direction and then followed by slow motions in the opposite direction.

  2. Pendular nystagmus - Both eye move with equal speed in either direction

What are the causes of Nystagmus?

Nystagmus is most often caused by a neurological problem that happens at birth or that arises in early childhood. Acquired nystagmus may be the symptom of another illness or disorder. Some of the other causes are

  • Stroke

  • Excessive alcohol consumption

  • Head injury or trauma

  • Diseases of the eye

  • Inner ear disease

  • Vitamin B12 or Thiamine deficiencies

  • brain tumors

  • Central nervous system disease including multiple sclerosis

  • Albinism

  • Anti-epilepsy drugs and certain other medications

  • Children may not be having normal eye movements

What are the symptoms of Nystagmus?

The symptoms are rapid, uncontrollable eye movements. The direction of movement decides the types of nystagmus.

Horizontal nystagmus involves side-to-side eye movement
Vertical nystagmus involves up-and-down eye movements
Rotary or torsional nystagmus involves circular movements

Some of the other possible symptoms are

  • Dizziness

  • Vision issues

  • Light sensitivity

  • Trouble seeing when it is dark

  • The sensation that the world is shaking

  • Needing to hold the head in a tilted or turned position

How is Nystagmus diagnosed?

A comprehensive eye exam will diagnose nystagmus. Nystagmus testing might include:
Patient history
Visual acuity measurements
Refraction test
Eyes focus testing

What are the treatments for Nystagmus?

Nystagmus treatment depends on whether the condition is congenital, or acquired. The congenital nystagmus can't be cured with eyeglasses and contact lenses but it helps to improve your vision. If the child has severe nystagmus, surgery has to be done for better vision. 

If you have acquired nystagmus, the underlying cause will be the focus of treatment. Some common acquired nystagmus treatments include:

  • Changing medications

  • Medication for eye infections

  • Antibiotics for infections of the inner ear

  • Special glasses lenses called prisms

  • Brain surgery for brain diseases

How to observe International Nystagmus Awareness Day?

People with nystagmus should learn its treatments, always try to stay positive, and find some support. Nystagmus people can also participate in awareness campaigns on this day and help each other by sharing your experiences. As individuals, there are several ways to observe this day such as

  • Joining the awareness campaigns and events

  • Support the fundraiser 

  • Be a support for known nystagmus people

  • Learn more about nystagmus and share with friends and families

  • Use #InternationalNystagmusAwarenessDay on social media and spread a message about nystagmus

Disclaimer: The above information is for general informational purposes only. All information on the Site is provided in good faith, however we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information on the Site.

International Nystagmus Awareness Day - FAQ

1. How common is Nystagmus?

Nystagmus is the most common condition that causes visual impairment in children and affects around one in 1,000 people. It can affect both men and women. This condition is a complex eye condition causing involuntary movement of the eyes.

2. What can cause Nystagmus?

Nystagmus is most often caused by a neurological problem that happens at birth or that arises in early childhood. Acquired nystagmus may be the symptom of another illness or disorder such as stroke, head injury, brain disease, ear or eye disease, etc.

3. Can a Nystagmus be corrected?

It is not possible to cure nystagmus but there are several treatments that can help. Through glasses or contact lenses, the vision issues may be corrected but the nystagmus will still impair the eyesight of the sufferer.

4. Why is International Nystagmus Awareness Day celebrated?

Nystagmus is a visual impairment that can occur at any time of life. Nystagmus sufferers face several problems. This day aims to reduce the issues faced by nystagmus people and to support them.