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What is nystagmus?

Q: My four years old son has been diagnosed with congenital nystagmus. He has a head turn towards right 22 degrees. I am consulting a paediatric ophthalmologist for the last three and a half years. The doctor has been suggesting a surgery to move null point at age of 5 years. I want to know success rate of these types of surgeries.

A:Nystagmus is wobbling of the eyes due to some cause which affects vision of the newborn baby before 3 months of age. However wobbling of the eyes itself causes poor vision.

Nystagmus is faster in one direction than the other i.e. in your son's case faster or rapid towards the left but slow towards the right, so his vision is relatively better looking to the right which encourages him to turn his head to the right.

This is what the surgeon exploits by operating on the eye muscles which aims to move both eyes a little bit to the right which mimics the original head turn to the right, thereby improving the vision slightly.

Even after the operation, the vision will not improve to more than what he can achieve by head turn now but at least he won't produce the head turn which he was doing before the operation.

Chances of achieving required success should be 90-100% depending on the paediatric ophthalmologist's experience. I would also advise you to stick to the same ophthalmologist as you are happy with him/her.


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