The brain controls eye movement. Your eyes move automatically to adjust when you move your head slightly. This stabilizes the image that you are looking at so you see a sharper image. In people with nystagmus, the areas of the brain that control eye movements do not work properly.
In some cases, it is not clear why someone has nystagmus. In other cases, nystagmus may be related to other eye problems.
Nystagmus can be related to the following:
- Having a family history of nystagmus
- Albinism (lack of color, or pigmentation, in the skin)
- A wide range of eye problems in infants/children, including cataracts, strabismus and focusing problems
- Inner ear problems, such as Meniere’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Stroke (a common cause of acquired nystagmus in older people)
- Head injury (a common cause of acquired nystagmus in younger people)
- Use of certain medications, such as lithium or anti-seizure medications
- Alcohol or drug use