CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Ann Natl Acad Med Sci 2022; 58(04): 182-188
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-1757889
Review Article

Calming the Visual Storm: Management of Childhood Nystagmus

Pradeep Sharma
1   Pediatric and Neuro-Ophthalmology, Centre for Sight, New Delhi, India
› Author Affiliations


Childhood nystagmus creates a visual storm both for the affected child and the treating doctor. This problem occurring in the development phase of the child affects not only the vision but also the general development, if not diagnosed and managed in time. Moreover, some forms may even harbor a neurological tumor needing timely management. First, a brief introduction of nystagmus classification, a simplified approach to diagnose the common childhood nystagmus, and the value of electrophysiology will be presented. Next, the approach to treatment, using a thorough clinical examination, illustrated by patient examples of different types of nystagmus will be presented. The different forms of childhood nystagmus are described: idiopathic infantile nystagmus syndrome (IINS), sensory nystagmus (SN), fusion maldevelopment nystagmus (FMDN), spasmus nutans syndrome (SNS), nystagmus blockage syndrome, periodic alternating nystagmus, and others as well as their specific management. The role of electronystagmography and that of neuroimaging in specific conditions is life saving and is described. The role of auditory biofeedback, acupuncture, medical treatment, and surgical procedures like Augmented Anderson procedure, Hertle-Dell'Osso procedure, supra maximal retro-equatorial recession, and posterior fixation have been elucidated. Newer techniques have simplified the management options and improved the functional outcomes in childhood nystagmus. To conclude, children with nystagmus of types IINS, FMDN, SNS, or SN need to be managed differently. It is thus possible to timely manage these children, not only to save their life and improve their vision but also to improve their living quotient.

Publication History

Article published online:
29 December 2022

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