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Infantile nystagmus: an optometrist’s perspective

Authors Zahidi AA, Woodhouse JM, Erichsen JT, Dunn MJ

Received 26 May 2017

Accepted for publication 14 July 2017

Published 25 September 2017 Volume 2017:9 Pages 123—131

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OPTO.S126214

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Mr Simon Berry

Asma AA Zahidi, J Margaret Woodhouse, Jonathan T Erichsen, Matt J Dunn

Research Unit for Nystagmus, School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK

Abstract: Infantile nystagmus (IN), previously known as congenital nystagmus, is an involuntary to-and-fro movement of the eyes that persists throughout life. IN is one of three types of early-onset nystagmus that begin in infancy, alongside fusion maldevelopment nystagmus syndrome and spasmus nutans syndrome. Optometrists may also encounter patients with acquired nystagmus. The features of IN overlap largely with those of fusion maldevelopment nystagmus syndrome, spasmus nutans syndrome, and acquired nystagmus, yet the management for each subtype is different. Therefore, the optometrist’s role is to accurately discern IN from other forms of nystagmus and to manage accordingly. As IN is a lifelong condition, its presence not only affects the visual function of the individual but also their quality of life, both socially and psychologically. In this report, we focus on the approaches that involve optometrists in the investigation and management of patients with IN. Management includes the prescription of optical treatments, low-vision rehabilitation, and other interventions such as encouraging the use of the null zone and referral to support groups. Other treatments available via ophthalmologists are also briefly discussed in the article.

Keywords: eye movements, visual acuity, reading performance, low vision, null zone, optometric investigation

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