Can I Have Laser Eye Surgery If I Have Nystagmus (Involuntary Eye Movements)?

Nystagmus, which is otherwise known by the more telling phrase “dancing eyes”, is a condition of involuntarily, or sometimes voluntary, eye movement.

There are two main types of nystagmus: physiological, which is caused by factors such as congenital disorders or sleep deprivation, and pathological, which have to do with disease and illnesses.

There’s also a few outliers, for instance, nystagmus is often associated with vertigo, the sensation that objects around you are moving when they’re not.

Nystagmus is commonly considered as an eye condition that comes about as a side-effect of another underlying condition. In this way, nystagmus is often considered as incurable, however, there is often something that can be done to reduce or manage its symptoms.

As nystagmus is characterised by involuntary eye movement, you would think that Laser Eye Surgery would undoubtedly be off the cards.

But not only is nystagmus an eye condition which is not a contraindication for Laser Eye Surgery, there may even be the chance of reducing its effects through having the procedure.

Nystagmus and Laser Eye Surgery

At the London Vision Clinic, we are no strangers to providing treatments for patients with nystagmus.

So to answer the question, “Can you have Laser Eye Surgery if you have nystagmus?” Then the simple answer is yes. However, it is important to note that Laser Eye Surgery does not treat the nystagmus, rather, through its ability to correct refractive errors and improve visual acuity, it may be able to reduce its symptoms.

Expert Laser Eye Surgeon Mr Glenn Carp explains that at London Vision Clinic we are able to provide both LASIK and PRK treatment for people with nystagmus. 

Nystagmus is believed to occur due to a problem in the way the eyes send messages to the brain or how the brain processes visual information.

As mentioned, this can be the result of the parts not having fully developed as a child, or due to some other damage which has occurred later in life. With the visual pathways or parts of the brain not working as they should, eye movements can become poorly controlled, and, as people with the condition report, can often worsen with psychological stress.

The RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) has published a complete guide to Nystagmus which serves as a great foundation for understanding the condition. They also have videos that give an insight into one man’s and one young girl’s experiences with nystagmus, which may be helpful for discovering new ways to better live with and manage the condition.

Want to find out more about Laser Eye Surgery and nystagmus and if you are suitable for treatment? Leave us a comment below or contact one of our friendly and helpful team of eye experts.