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What are wobbly eyes (nystagmus)?

Wobbly eyes, or what is medically known as nystagmus, is a condition that results in the eyes moving uncontrollably in a repetitive motion. The eyes will move up and down, or sideways, or rotate in a circular motion. As a result, children are unable to see steadily and clearly. As children get older, they may become more aware of their condition and may compensate by changing the position of their heads or nodding excessively.

What are the signs of nystagmus?

Children with nystagmus show symptoms of unusual eye movements, blurry vision and issues with their balance.

How do we treat nystagmus?

After comprehensive eye screenings, we can determine whether the child has nystagmus. When testing for wobbly eyes, we always consider refractive error as an underlying factor that may occur due to astigmatism, farsightedness and nearsightedness, and select spectacle lenses that may correct for this.

Testing how well the eyes work in unison is also important when correcting nystagmus. Also, checking for related eye problems that may cause wobbly eyes is vital when deciding on a treatment plan.

Although contact lenses and prescription glasses do not permanently resolve nystagmus, eyewear will help reduce symptoms of refractive error.

Corrective eye muscle repair is a delicate procedure performed to treat wiggly eyes (nystagmus) or squint (strabismus). Eye muscle realignment involves adjusting the eye’s muscles to realign the appearance of one or both eyes.

Typically, here at the Atlantic Eye Centre, we discuss all treatment options with parents for them to be part of whatever plan is recommended for their child.

How soon should you treat wobbly eyes in children?

Diagnosing the cause and treating nystagmus should occur as soon as possible. Treatment depends on the child’s underlying condition.


“Vision is the true creative rhythm”

- Robert Delaunay