Nystagmus is involuntary movement of the eyes. These eye movements
may be slow or fast, steady or jerky, and the eyes may move from side to side
or up and down or both.
It is normal for most people to have some degree of nystagmus in
response to certain visual patterns. For instance, a person may have mild,
temporary nystagmus when driving past a series of telephone poles along the
Abnormal nystagmus may be caused by inner ear problems, certain
drugs, alcohol, multiple sclerosis, a brain tumor, or other diseases of the
brain and nervous system. Nystagmus can also be present at birth or develop in
the first few months of life as a result of problems with visual
Treatment for nystagmus usually involves treating the cause,
although this is not always possible. Medicine can improve some types of
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.