Rotatory nystagmus refers to the involuntary rotation of the eye, and many times is known as dancing eyes. This issue can either be congenital or acquired. The problem is caused by an abnormality in the part of the brain that directs movement of the eyes. A person with rotatory nystagmus will experience rotating eye movements that are rapid, involuntary, and repetitive. The movement of the eye cannot be controlled and may exist in one or both eyes, depending on what the cause of the nystagmus is.
If the condition is congenital, it means a person was born with this issue. Many times the condition will be subtle, and even be unnoticed by the person with the problem. It may be seen, though, by someone else. If the rotation is great, the person affected may have problems with his vision. Sometimes surgery is needed to improve a person’s eyesight when he has rotatory nystagmus.
On rare occasions, a person may have congenital nystagmus due to an eye disease that he was born with. This type is rare, but does occur in some people. Children that have been diagnosed as having any type of nystagmus are generally tested for diseases of the eye, in case it is the cause of the rapid eye movements.
Acquired nystagmus usually occurs because of an injury, toxin, or disease. Most commonly, toxins are the cause of rapid eye movements that are acquired. Certain medications, drugs, and alcohol can damage the area of the brain that is in charge of controlling the movement of the eye. Injuries, such as car accidents and motorcycle accidents, can also lead to rotatory nystagmus.
Certain diseases or illnesses, such as strokes and inner ear disorders, can cause nystagmus in a person. Any disorder that affects the brain, like multiple sclerosis, Whipple’s disease, and Horner’s Syndrome, can cause damage to the area that controls eye movement as well. Tumors of the brain can also be responsible for rotatory nystagmus.
There are certain types of medications that can most often be used to treat the different kinds of nystagmus, including rotational. Surgery can also be performed. The type of surgery that is used to reduce the amount of movement that is caused by nystagmus is known as tenotomy. It is thought that this type of surgery can improve the eyesight of a person that is affected with nystagmus as well.