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Nystagmus — Is That a Super Villain or Something?

close up photo of a clown 2970498Although the word “Nystagmus” sounds like something out of a comic book, it actually refers to a condition characterized by repetitive involuntary eye movements. The eyes may move from side to side, up and down, or in circular motions. Those affected by nystagmus will often experience reduced vision and difficulty with depth perception, balance, and coordination due to the unstable vision. At Vision Therapy Center At Valley Vision Optometry, we treat a wide range of eye conditions— including nystagmus—with our neuro-optometric rehabilitation program.

Types of Nystagmus

Congenital Nystagmus

Nystagmus can begin in infancy, affecting babies as young as 2 or 3 months of age. With infantile nystagmus, the eye movements tend to be horizontal. In many cases, no treatment is required and the condition will fade on its own.

Spasmus Nutans

This form of nystagmus develops in children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years and will likely improve without any medical intervention by age 8. Children affected by this type of nystagmus will exhibit eye movements in any direction, and may tilt or nod their heads to compensate for the unstable vision.

Acquired

Acquired nystagmus develops later on in childhood or adulthood and is often associated with problems in the central nervous system or metabolic disorders.

What Can Cause Nystagmus?

Nystagmus is generally caused by a neurological problem but can also be a symptom of another disease or condition. Additionally, several factors can worsen the condition, such as stress and fatigue.

Other causes include:

  • Albinism
  • Very high myopia (nearsightedness) or astigmatism
  • Underdeveloped eye movement control
  • Inner ear inflammation
  • Certain medications
  • Congenital cataracts

Nystagmus Treatments

In rare cases of nystagmus, surgery may aid in improving vision by changing the position of the eye muscles that control their movement.

A more holistic approach to treating nystagmus is through neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy. Recent research has shown that this specialized form of vision therapy improves visual function in most patients with nystagmus. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy refines and improves visual skills by strengthening the brain’s control over the eyes, thereby treating the problem at its source.

Vision Therapy Center At Valley Vision Optometry offers the latest in neuro-optometric rehabilitation and treats patients with several forms of visual disorders, including nystagmus. If you or a loved one are affected by this eye condition, speak with Dr. Shaun Golemba to learn how we can help.

Vision Therapy Center At Valley Vision Optometry serves patients from Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland, Okanagan, Kootenay’s, and throughout British Columbia.

 

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We are currently offering in-office care by appointment only.

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COVID-19 UPDATE

The following is a summary of the steps we have taken to protect your safety.

Physical Distancing Measures:

o Reducing density of people: We have adopted a schedule which will reduce the amount of patients in our facility at one time.

o We will have some of our team working from home operating a call centre and tele-medicine pre-screening.

o Spacing stickers have been placed on our floor.

Engineering controls:

o Forms have been digitized and will be emailed to patients in advance of the appointment to minimize contact.

o A “For Payment" button has been installed on our website, valleyvisionoptometry.ca for patients to be able to pay from home to minimize contact.

o Plexiglass barriers have been installed at all 3 Front Desk stations

o Our doors will remain locked during Phase 2, opening the door to let in scheduled patients only.

o A dropbox has been installed for patients to drop off glasses in need of repair.

o Contact lens sales are administered through our webstore.

Administrative controls:

o Cleaning protocols have been written. Staff training on these protocols has been scheduled.

o Clear rules are posted on our front door and throughout all of the stations in our office.

Personal protective equipment:

o Patients will be required to wear a mask upon entry to the office and throughout their time with us. Those who do not have a mask will be supplied a surgical mask upon entry.

Policies around sickness:

o Employees and patients with cold or flu symptoms will be required to stay home.

Frequent hand washing:

o Patients, Doctors, and our Team will be required to wash hands upon entry and exit in to the exam rooms.

o Eyewear Consultants will wear gloves when handling eyewear and performing adjustments.

We currently are operating a reduced schedule, so are triaging patients to ensure those with the highest needs are prioritized.

Sincerely,

Dr. Shaun Golemba

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We are open by appointment only. Our current hours are Monday to Friday, 8am – 4pm. Please call our office to schedule an appointment. Read about our safety protocols here.