Vision Therapy for Nystagmus: Improving Visual Function and Quality of Life

Published on
May 15, 2023

According to the National Eye Institute, nystagmus affects approximately 0.24% of the general population in the United States. This means a whopping 720,000 individuals in the US face the challenges of nystagmus.

How does Nystagmus Impact Vision? 

Nystagmus is a condition that affects the eyes, causing involuntary and rapid movements that can make it difficult to focus on objects. Potential causes of nystagmus include neurological disorders, side effects of certain medications, and ocular trauma. Although nystagmus currently has no cure, various treatments can help manage symptoms and enhance visual acuity. One such treatment is known as vision therapy or neuro optometry.

How Does Vision Therapy Help Nystagmus Treatment?

Vision therapy uses targeted exercises and activities to enhance eye and brain function to improve the visual system. It can help people with nystagmus by improving their ability to focus on objects and reducing the severity of their eye movements.

Vision therapy for nystagmus may include a variety of nystagmus exercises, such as:

Saccadic eye movements - these exercises involve looking quickly from one object to another, which can help improve eye muscle control and reduce the severity of the eye movements.

Visual tracking exercises - these exercises involve following moving objects with the eyes, which can help improve the ability to track objects and reduce the severity of the eye movements.

Visual perceptual exercises - these exercises involve activities that challenge the brain's ability to interpret visual information, which can help improve overall visual function and reduce the severity of the eye movements.

Balance and coordination exercises - these exercises involve activities that challenge the body's balance and coordination, which can help reduce dizziness and improve overall function.

In addition to these exercises, vision therapy for nystagmus may also include the use of specialized glasses or contact lenses, as well as the use of computerized visual training programs.

Who Can Benefit from Vision Therapy for Nystagmus?

Vision therapy can benefit people of all ages who have nystagmus, regardless of the severity of their condition. It can be particularly helpful for children with congenital nystagmus, as it can improve their ability to focus on objects and reduce the severity of their eye movements, which can improve their overall visual function and quality of life.

It is important to note that while vision therapy can be an effective treatment for nystagmus, it is not a cure. People with nystagmus may still experience involuntary eye movements even after completing vision therapy. However, vision therapy can help reduce the severity of the eye movements and improve overall visual function, which can make it easier to perform daily activities and improve quality of life.

Alternative Treatments for Nystagmus

A neuro optometrist or functional optometrist may combine different treatment modalities to improve the outcomes of treatment for Nystagmus. Some treatments that may be discussed include prism lenses. Another exciting therapy is called Revital Vision, which showed a 2 line improvement in visual acuity in 80% of patients with Nystagmus. 

Understanding Nystagmus and Its Causes

Nystagmus is a condition that causes involuntary and rapid eye movements, which can be horizontal, vertical, or rotational. It can occur in one or both eyes and can range from mild to severe. Some people with nystagmus may experience dizziness or a loss of balance, while others may have no nystagmus symptoms other than the eye movements themselves.

Nystagmus may result from a range of causes, encompassing neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis and epilepsy, as well as the side effects of certain medications and eye injuries. Additional factors contributing to nystagmus include genetic predisposition, other eye-related issues such as strabismus or cataracts, head trauma, and inner ear complications. Specific illnesses, including multiple sclerosis, stroke, and Meniere's disease, can also lead to nystagmus. Furthermore, the condition can be triggered by the consumption of alcohol or drugs, albinism, and some medications, particularly those prescribed for seizure management.

Evaluate Your Visual Skills with Our Online Assessment

Take our online visual skills assessment to determine whether you or your child might have a visual deficit affecting success in academics, professional life, or sports performance. /vision-therapy-specialty/vision-and-learning-quiz/ 

Discover Personalized Vision Therapy Treatment Plans for Nystagmus at Amplify EyeCare Manhattan

If you or a loved one has nystagmus and are interested in learning more about how vision therapy can help, contact Dr. Wernick who specializes in vision therapy. We can evaluate your condition and recommend a personalized treatment plan to help improve your vision and reduce the severity of your eye movements. Remember, early intervention is key to achieving the best possible outcomes.

Learn more about the functional vision exam here: /vision-therapy/getting-an-eye-exam-for-vision-therapy/

Please call us at (212) 752-6930 to schedule a functional eye exam. Patients with functional vision issues, such as nystagmus, visit our clinic from all over New York, and we are proud to be a leading provider of neuro optometric rehabilitation services for patients from New York, Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island.

Testimonials


At Amplify with Dr Wernick I was seeking help for seemingly intractable, probably age-related dryness. I've seen other doctors about it, and that has been helpful, but what he explained to me about it and the careful way he answered all my questions gave me so much more of a clear understanding of what is going on (and is not) that I am more able to implement all his and others' recommendations than I was before. And he gave me additional resources for further follow-up. I am most grateful.


Cynthia Norton

Wow! This is a great Eye Care medical facility. I was thoroughly examined by Dr. Pinkhasov for over 2 hours. She made sure to check my eyes for pretty much everything and patiently explained proper care for my eyes. They definitely know how to provide great care and treat their patients right. Now I know why they have such a great reputation and been around for so long.


Steve Fay

Dr. Kavner is a gifted diagnostician and orthoptic therapist. He treated me several decades ago for a condition similar to dyslexia. I was having migraines five times per week. I worked with him for about a year and I experienced tremendous improvement (down to 3-4 per year) that has lasted.


Mary K.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


Peter G.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


Kinkie F.

I have always found Dr Kavner's work, expertise and wisdom of the highest caliber. As one of the fathers of OT, occupational othomology, his depth and breadth of knowledge about the eyes' health and wellbeing of the patient is exemplary. Cannot say enough good things about him.


Allen B.
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