My kids (son aged 10 & daughter aged 8) are suffering from CONGENITAL NYSTAGMUS. Is there any remedy for the same?

Nystagmus is the term used to describe a certain type of involuntary eye movement. This is a rather normal occurrence that is further provoked by several factors such as alcohol consumption and so on. However, when nystagmus is chronic and interferes with a person’s vision, it is known as pathologic nystagmus. The most common type of pathologic nystagmus is congenital nystagmus, in which a person is born with the disorder. In other people, the condition may develop later in life, as a result of a stroke, trauma to the head, multiple sclerosis, and several other diseases, and medical conditions. Your children of course have been born with the disorder.

There are unfortunately no known home remedies or self care measures for this condition. In fact, until relatively recently, congenital nystagmus, and in fact all pathologic nystagmus, was considered entirely untreatable. Today however, several drugs are showing promise in treating the condition. Gabapentin, an anticonvulsant that is used to treat epilepsy and neuropathic pain, seems to be quite useful in the treatment of pathologic nystagmus. Many other drugs have also been developed more recently, so the treatment options are not as limited as they were several years ago. Of course, any drug has a risk of side effects, and these must be taken into consideration before you go in for any treatment. Gabapentin, for example, is known to cause peripheral edema and drowsiness, although this only tends to occur when administered in high doses. Among children, more likely side effect is mood swings and difficulty concentrating. It is therefore important to get the dosage right, and also to evaluate the need for any medical intervention at all. If the condition is very mild, it may be better to leave it alone. If treatment is necessary, a suitable approach must be decided upon based on the child’s needs. It is also possible to avoid medication by using surgery. Contact lenses may also be helpful in some cases. In fact, among children with congenital nystagmus, contact lenses are found to be extremely helpful – they not only improve vision, but reduce the symptoms of nystagmus. Some alternative treatments that may be useful include biofeedback and acupuncture, although it is important to avoid making the mistake of relying solely upon these measures.

You must also note that congenital nystagmus can be an indication of several other congenital disorders, so you must discuss this possibility with your doctor if you have not already done so.

answered by G M

Warning: does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. see additional information
Read more questions in Childrens Issues